Summer vacation this year will be expensive

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The summer vacation of 2023 will go really in the money. As early as January, Helga Freund, CEO of tour operator Ruefa, predicted that travel in 2023 would be eight percent more expensive on average. Gottfried Math of the competitor Tui strikes into the same notch: On the average, the prices are with Tui Austria over the entire Portfolio ad around,d eight percent more highly than in the past year.” We remember that prices were already absurdly high in 2022. This year it is still worse.

There are many reasons for this. There would be high inflation first, which drives the prices, and the planned vacation budget (1,700 euros are budgeted on the average per person for the entire annual vacation, 150 more than in the previous year) massively shrinks. However, this does not yet dampen the desire to travel. Nine out of ten respondents want to travel once or twice, as a survey commissioned by Ruefa shows. That is as many as before the pandemic. Everyone wants to get away – an additional price driver.

Turning the price screw
This is evident not least in airfares, which are determined by the price of kerosene, personnel costs, etc. and demand. And this demand is met by a supply of still too-low flights. There are still far fewer aircraft on the road than before Corona, according to Eurocontrol, the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation: 9.3 million flights in 2022, or 83 percent of the volume in 2019. This year, at least 92 percent of the pre-pandemic level will be reached again.

If you’ve planned your vacation recently, you’ll notice that the days of cheap flying are over. From Lufthansa to low-cost carriers like Wizz Air and Ryanair, airlines are turning the price screw. At the beginning of April, for example, Ryanair Austria boss Andreas Gruber announced that ticket prices would rise by more than ten percent. Statistics Austria, in turn, calculates that airline tickets became 50.6 percent more expensive in March alone.

Turkey rather favourable
But how does it look in the summer months? standard.at has inquired with the comparison portal Idealo, with which Austrian travellers must count. The prices for flights from Austria to popular warm-water destinations in June, July, August, and September 2022 were compared to 2023. One hundred forty-five thousand queries were evaluated for this—In conclusion, flights from Austria will be 18.4 percent more expensive on average during summer vacations.

In July 2023 alone, a flight to Egypt costs 80.1 percent more than the previous year, followed by Greece (29.7 percent) and Italy (14.4 percent). The figures fluctuate from month to month. While Egypt becomes cheaper in August, at least by 0.7 percent, and more expensive again in September (7.5 percent), it can be seen for Italy that the ticket price falls on average in August by 16.8 percent compared to the previous year, while it goes steeply up again in September, by 53.4 percent.

It is much cheaper to travel to Turkey. Although ticket prices rise by an average of 4.1 percent in June, they peak in July at 15.2 percent but then fall in August and September by minus 11.1 and 17.6 percent, respectively. However, it depends on the destination in Turkey. Because who flies from Vienna to Antalya in July, 375,78 euros per person pay. That is around ten percent less than in July 2022, when a ticket cost 418.42 euros.

It is striking that Greece, one of the most popular summer travel destinations for Austrians, remains expensive over the entire study period: in June, the flight already costs 16.1 percent; in August, 22.8, and in September, even 33.8 percent more than in the previous year. Here, too, we have calculated a concrete example: Anyone who wants to fly from Vienna to Heraklion on Crete next July will pay (as of April) 357.84 euros per person. In 2022 it was still 267.25 euros, corresponding to a price increase of 33.9 percent.

Last-minute bargains are nowhere to be found.
However, the problem with such surveys is that airfares are subject to permanent fluctuations. In times of widely varying flight and booking classes and daily adjustments to fares (in industry jargon, this is known as yield management), it is not easy to provide precise information on changes in travel prices. Only the trend is correct, as research in the international press, namely “Der Spiegel” and “NZZ,” shows: it’s going up everywhere.

For experts, it is clear that travellers pay different prices depending on the booking date. Their level is based on the plane’s capacity utilization, increasing the closer the departure date. So anyone hoping for a last-minute bargain will be disappointed. For some experts like Gregor Kadanka, industry spokesman for travel agencies, the last minute is more of an advertising joke than an excellent low-cost booking option anyway.

Drastically more expensive in some cases
Tui man Gottfried Math toots the same horn: last-minute bargains, known in the past, no longer exist, he told the “Kleine Zeitung”: “In the tendency, the later it is booked, the more expensive it becomes.” Only those flexible with the destination and period and the hotel classification have a chance at last-minute bargains. If one has, however, an utterly particular desire for vacation in a sense, one should not speculate on it, reads the tenor in the industry. In principle applies: The earlier one books, the more favourably it becomes. Above all, 15 to 20 percent savings is possible if one avoids the primary season, as Ruefa managing director Michele Fanton stresses.

With a view of package tours for the summer vacations of 2023, the travel reservation and evaluation portal Holidaycheck had already announced in December, based on its price analysis, that these become “partly drastically more expensive.” DER STANDARD recently calculated how far one comes as a family of four with a vacation budget of 4,000 euros—not too far. Whether you have a bath vacation in Greece or an active holiday in Austria – it becomes no summer like in former times.

Dollar as an additional price driver
Ruefa also provides price examples for specific vacations in selected hotels in comparable travel periods. Also, the result is sobering: Thus, a holiday-maker in Mallorca pays this,s yea,r in the summer for one week in a four-star hotel 3,331 euros (per person in a double room). A year ago, the price was still 2,392 euros. The price jumps reached 50 to 60 percent compared to the summer before the Corona pandemic.

For example, an all-inclusive vacation in a five-star resort in Turkey has become significantly more expensive. If the price for a week in 2019 was still 3,440 euros (for two adults and two children), it is currently 5,533 euros per family. Three weeks of Gran Canaria were to be had in 2019, still around 2,140 euros; this year, one must calculate for the same journey more than 3,000 euros. According to Helga Freund, all participants along the value chain are responsible for the price push, as she told the “Kurier”: “Airlines, hotels, transfers, service providers on site – all partners have increased prices.” Drivers, she said, were primarily raw materials, water, electricity, gasoline and personnel costs.

Camping has also become more expensive.
Gottfried Math locates another price driver in the strength of the U.S. dollar. He shares, “While vacations in Tunisia cost only two percent more, prices for U.S. trips have risen by double digits due to the strong dollar.” The dollar is considered the lead currency of the tourism industry. If it stands high, it becomes more expensive for euro countries. Recently, the euro has regained value, but even that can’t slow the wave of summer inflation. “Nevertheless,” Math notes, “the U.S. is once again the most popular summer holiday destination for Tui customers, as it was before the pandemic.”

With all these horror stories, some will consider staying at home and camping in Austria. After all, camping vacations have a reputation for being a cost-effective alternative. But is that still true in 2023? There has been a price increase here as well, even if it is only very moderate: camping prices in the primary season, including pitches, caravans, electricity and local taxes, have risen by an average of 2.78 percent. What emerges from the figures of the camping portal Camping.info. In the European-wide comparison, the camping vacation in Austria belongs – analogous to the previous year – to the most expensive ones in Europe—a night on a camping site costs on average 32,83 euros. In the federal state comparison Vorarlberg (36,52 euro), Tirol (36,32 euro) and Kärnten (35,83 euro) are particularly expensive. The cheapest campsites are in the provinces of Upper Austria (28.70 euros), Styria (28.45 euros) and Vienna (24.50 euros).

Moderate increase
“In principle, campsites in Austria offer excellent value for money. Not only inflation-related, but also by the risen demand and the increasing quality level the slight price increase can be justified to the previous year”, holds Maximilian Möhrle, managing director of the travel and reservation portal. To arrange the price level already with the vacation Camping.info lists to each camping site, a comparison price for the primary and Nebensais Möhrle stirs equal the advertising drum for its portal.

Analogous to the price structuring of airline tickets, the overnight accommodation prices on camping sites are often not specified for the entire season. However, daily updates are adapted depending on the extent of utilization and demand. Möhrle, therefore, advises campers to book their desired pitch in advance. “Camping in Austria is absolutely on trend, which the record of almost eight million overnight stays in 2022 confirms once again,” he says. Those who want to secure their pitch at the best price-performance ratio should book now at the latest. “Spontaneous travelers have to reckon with higher prices or even completely booked out spaces in case of doubt,” he notes. Those it pulls abroad should consider a camping vacation in Moldova, Turkey, North Macedonia or Albania; their camper pays for a night on average less than 15 euros.

Night train or …
ÖBB has moderately increased its ticket prices – on the occasion of last December’s timetable change. Second-class tickets cost an average of 3.9 percent more. Anyone who buys a second-class ticket from Vienna to Salzburg on the day of departure will pay 28.30 euros, 40 cents more than before, with the Vorteilscard on the web or in the app. However, the dynamic pricing system will be retained: The earlier it is booked, the cheaper the trip. Anyone who buys a ticket at the ticket counter, from a ticket machine, online or in the app 15 days or earlier before the trip will pay the same price. That would be 26.70 euros on the Vienna-Salzburg route.

It is also cheaper to book early and online in first class. In addition, first-class customers receive an included reservation when they buy their ticket online, in the ÖBB app or at the ticket counter. The price for the first-class ticket with Vorteilscard increases from 46.80 euros to 52.40 euros. However, the reservation fee of three euros is already included here.

Interestingly was the announcement that on January 1, 2023, there will be a significant change for tickets in international long-distance traffic: the value-added tax for international tickets will be eliminated for the Austrian part of the route. As a result, tickets should become cheaper for everyone.

… but flight?
Speaking of price: Let’s assume we want to take advantage of the new Nightjet offer to Genoa with the entire family (two adults, two school-age children, eight and eleven years old, respectively) and depart on July 7. So we’re leaving at 7:18 p.m. from Vienna Central Station, and the following day at 9:38 a.m., we should arrive – hopefully – well-rested in Genoa Piazza Principe. So entering the data on the ÖBB website … 231.40 euros (without discounts) are called. That sounds good. However, these are not seats in a sleeping compartment but in the second-class car. Says then, nevertheless not so super – 14 hours and 20 minutes in the train. At least the seat reservation is included. However, a couchette or sleeper car option does not even appear, which leads to the conclusion that all seats are already taken.

Two weeks later, things look better. There is also the option to choose a compartment with four couches, which costs 353 euros and is the best option for our family of four because there are only three beds in the sleeper compartment. That means one would have to move out. Or you can book two bedrooms, costing 474.20 euros for the outward journey. If you add the return trip, the capacity is 948.40 euros. Incidentally, the same trip still cost 984.40 euros in December 2022.

Relaxation with rental cars
Another quick cross-check: What about the plane? AUA offers a flight to Genoa from Graz, with a stopover in Munich. That alone is unattractive, and the return flight on August 2 even includes two stopovers. The total price for the family of four in the Economy Classic fare is a whopping 1,629.66 euros (as of 26.4.2023). The direct flight from Ryanair in the direction of Genoa no longer seems to exist – that should be mentioned for completeness.

This year, the situation is somewhat more rest year about rental cars. After years of extreme fluctuations in demand and supply, these will converge again in 2023, according to the car rental provider Sunny Cars forecast. It says this will somewhat lower the price level compared to 2022, but it will still be higher than before the pandemic. The price development primarily depends on availability so that the costs will remain high, especially for small cars. Even within individual countries, prices may fluctuate depending on the region. One explains the higher level of Sunny Cars with the risen costs of the renting companies. Concrete numbers are not mentioned, however.

  • Source: standard.at/picture: pixabay.com
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