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    As a result of the crisis the tourism industry now has a better understanding of the risks, but has also recognised the potential for new opportunities. Travellers are displaying greater environmental and socially responsible awareness, for example. That was the takeaway from all the discussions on the Friday for B2B visitors at the virtual We Love Travel! event. Providing organisers, service providers and customers draw the right conclusions, the potential exists for a future with profits, highly satisfied customers and a long-term positive effect on source countries and destinations.

    1. The main problem is uncertainty

    From 1950 to 2019 overnights increased sixty-fold globally, said Peter Kautz from Statista. “But then the coronavirus arrived.” With tourism activities having suffered a 55 per cent loss in turnover worldwide (as things stood), the pandemic had eclipsed all other crises to date, he said. Roland Gassner from Travel Data & Analytics added that although the collapse was similar to 9/11 or the financial crisis, its duration and prospects for recovery were not. This would take longer and no one could say how long.

    2. The situation is not hopeless

    “Stop whining“, said many of those at the discussions. Pointing to the most recent surveys, Michael Buller from Verband Internet Reisevertrieb (VIR) said “people want to travel“, all the more so if they had been unable to for a long time. What was more they had “the money, time and desire to travel again”, said Ulf Sonntag, a market researcher at the Kieler Institut für Tourismusforschung. Even if they could not necessarily choose the destinations they wanted they were “booking trips like mad“, said Roland Gassner, director of Business Development, Travel Data + Analytics.


  • “I had finished university and broken up“ – was how Stefan Korn began his story about hitchhiking around the world. A 22-month trip followed which took in, among other destinations, Uruguay, Alaska, Hong Kong and New York. He covered 108,895 kilometres, the equivalent of rounding the globe more than two-and-a-half times. Most of the time he hitchhiked, but he also took a sailing boat across the Atlantic, cycled across the Cordillera, and hopped trains across the United States. One of the things that initially was at least as important as achieving deep insights and self-fulfilment was the urge to leave his stickers behind at places along the way. “I wanted to be the toughest hitchhiker on the planet“, he admits. Listeners conclude that he probably fulfilled that goal, in hindsight with self-irony. In the end he realised that “distances are relative and I can travel anywhere I want, something for which I am grateful.”

    The trip has also produced a book. Korn now no longer hitchhikes just for fun, but as a sport. There are even hitchhikers’ clubs and associations and, taking inspiration from Russia, he founded the German Sports Hitchhikers Association, whose members can be recognised by their yellow outfit.


  • Anselm Pahnke had vowed not to buy a single litre of water. “I wanted to sense the rule of nature“, said the 31 year-old geophysicist at the virtual We Love Travel! event in Berlin, describing his journey by bicycle from the south to the north of Africa with as little equipment as possible. A few months turned into three years, and Africa was followed by Asia and then Australia over a total of 40,000 kilometres.

    Warnings were cast aside, “they just drain you of inspiration.“ His preparations were scant, true to the motto that “the world speaks not to the knowledgeable but to those who are curious.“ Although he said he enjoyed being on his own “with only his camera to talk to“, he struck up conversations with many people on his travels. Almost everyone was welcoming, gave him directions, helped him overcome bouts of malaria and typhoid. His candidness, accounts and images not only contradict many stereotypes about the continent, but also impressively show how the journey influenced him. His story concludes with touching portrayals of laughing, friendly people, and although it had not been originally planned, his travel impressions spawned a book and film entitled “Elsewhere. Alone in Africa.“ But not only about Africa. Because when he was in the Middle East he “took a right turn“ and put Asia and Australia under his belt too. “Without a camera, because I no longer needed it for conversation.“


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