Tourism investors at ITB Berlin NOW see a wealth of opportunities
From the perspective of investors in the tourism industry the situation has not really gone downhill during the coronavirus crisis. Sascha Hausmann, a partner in Howzat Partners, whose activities include facilitating venture capital, offered encouragement for the future with this viewpoint during the ITB Berlin NOW Convention.
After all, the industry has survived a number of crises in recent times, from the stock market crash to volcanic ash and the financial crisis. The same applies now, although the current crisis is admittedly worse than those that preceded it. Hausmann admitted that the lockdowns and drastic decline in business “have been painful”, but the industry is highly resilient. In particular tourists themselves have reacted very quickly to changing conditions. They are no longer as fearful as politicians would have us believe, as we have seen since the first lockdown.
Investors have always been confident that “travel will return”, and there is enough money available the make the necessary investments. In any case those who are keen to do so tend to look two years into the future, when prospects to not appear bad at all. Tourism is a basic need which cannot be obstructed by politicians and governments over time.
Hausmann showed caution in addressing the question of what changes would occur in the industry following the coronavirus pandemic. It is still too early to identify any particular trends. However, he did refer to one aspect, which applies especially to Germans: having previously shown a certain hesitancy with regard to cashless payments, they have now become accustomed to paying by credit card as a result of Covid. “This will certainly remain the case.” Investments in the technology have therefore been worthwhile. If he were to invest “a penny” right now he would choose the holiday rental sector, i.e. car and camper rentals or holiday homes. In the current situation these would be the ideal products.