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Germans travel abroad more than before the pandemic

Germans are again taking more holidays at home and abroad. Easily accessible destinations such as Austria and Italy are particularly popular, as the majority still use the car to get to their holiday destination.

Last year, Germans again took more holidays abroad than before the corona pandemic. They booked 102 million trips abroad, according to the Federal Statistical Office. This was 18 percent more than in 2022 and even three percent more than in the pre-crisis year of 2019. The most popular destinations for trips abroad in 2023 were, as in previous years, Austria, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and France.

The number of domestic trips also rose by ten percent to 149 million in 2023, but was still eight percent below the pre-crisis level. In total, travelers from Germany made 251 million private and business trips with at least one overnight stay in Germany or abroad. That was an increase of 13 percent over the previous year, but four percent less than in 2019.

Rail travel is becoming more popular

Germans travel particularly frequently for private reasons: in 2023, there were 216 million private trips, 13 percent more than in 2022 and only one percent less than in the pre-crisis year of 2019. The number of business trips rose by 14 percent to 34 million compared to the previous year. However, it was still 16 percent lower than in 2019. “This indicates that many business meetings will continue to take place virtually even after the pandemic, and that business trips will therefore increasingly be avoided,” explained the statistics office.

Germans still most often go on holiday in their own car. This remains the most frequently used means of transport at 58 percent. At the same time, airplanes were used somewhat more frequently: the share of air travel almost reached pre-corona levels. It rose to 16 percent last year. Rail travel in 2023 was above the 2019 level with a share of 19 percent.

More Direct connections possible

In order to further increase the number of rail journeys, more direct connections would have to be created. According to an analysis by the environmental organization Greenpeace, European cities are much better connected by plane than by train. There are no direct train connections on heavily traveled routes such as Paris-Rome, Madrid-Paris or London-Berlin. With more than a million passengers each per year, these are instead among the most frequently used air routes in Europe.

Greenpeace has compared train and flight connections between 45 major European cities and analyzed the potential for better direct trains. Of all 990 routes between cities, only twelve percent can be covered by direct trains. However, with existing infrastructure alone, it would be possible to create 305 new direct train connections between cities in Europe, according to a new Greenpeace study.

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