Heinz-Dieter Quack, head of the European Tourism Institute (ETI) in the German city of Trier, said on Saturday that prices for accommodation were on average 5 to 10 percent lower than last year, owing to falling bookings as “price sensitive” German tourists stayed at home.
All in all, bookings in the classic holiday spots such as the Black Forest, the Rhön Mountains and coast were “satisfactory to good”, according to Quack's survey.
Nevertheless, the prices at hotels even in these regions had dropped.
“Many are selling at below their value out of fear of not being booked out over Christmas,” Quack said. “Right now there are really reasonable deals.”
With prices and the number of tourists set to stay depressed next year, sales for the tourism industry would be down by as much as 10 percent, Quack said.
Inevitably a “bargain mentality” would whip Germans back into enthusiasm for holidaying, getting business rolling again for the tourism industry, he said.
However, this didn't apply at Christmas time, around which he advised desperate hoteliers and tourism operators to tone down on their promotions.
People didn't “jump on garishly advertised bargains” at Christmas as they did at other times.
“This time is still if anything a contemplative affair, when family values come to the fore.”
Some nine out of 10 Germans stayed home for Christmas, he said.
“This year, 30 million fir trees have been bought. That means a tree is standing in practically every household.''
The 10 percent of people who did pack their bags for Christmas were going to classic winter destinations such as the Alps.