As Germany prepares for the possibility of a sudden halt in Russian gas supplies, a travel agency association has proposed an unusual solution in the face of a possible shortage and even higher energy prices this winter: sending senior citizens on vacation to warmer destinations during the cold season.
Russia's gas is critical to Europe, particularly Germany. However, Berlin is under pressure to end a business connection that opponents believe is assisting Russia in funding its invasion of Ukraine.
The largest economy in Europe wants to decrease its reliance on Russia to zero as soon as feasible, but it opposes an abrupt halt to imports.
The Older Generation
Pensioners, according to Marija Linnhoff, chair of the German Association of Independent Travel Agencies (VUSR), are a method to deal with rising expenses while conserving energy.
Linnhoff recommended this week that seniors be allowed to go to warmer countries for longer periods of time during the winter, listing Turkey, Tunisia, and the Spanish tourist island of Mallorca as possible destinations.
She said that the government should encourage more individuals, some of whom have previously spent winters in some of these regions, by supporting such excursions.
Travel for Seniors
Linnhoff, who leads an organisation that represents more than 7,000 travel firms in Germany, has proposed up to 500 euros ($527.69) in subsidies to make such trips more accessible. Linnhoff went on to say that: "The cost of such a trip to Mallorca starts at roughly 1,300 euros per person." That's 50 days in a middle-class hotel with half-board and airfare included. "We're currently at 950 euros per person with self-catering," she said.
"You kill two birds with one stone: retirees would receive subsidies, industry would save petrol, and vacation locations would benefit," she explained.
Uncertainty that lies ahead
It's uncertain whether an abrupt halt of gas would occur, and sources indicated Germany hoped to avoid escalation by supporting a European gas embargo, after previously supporting penalties against Moscow on coal and oil.
However, they are concerned that Russia may cut off gas supplies unilaterally and want to be prepared. Sources said that German officials are covertly preparing for a sudden halt in Russian gas supply with an emergency package that could involve taking control of crucial industries.
According to sector representatives, such a plan would be beneficial to Turkish tourism as well as help job creation. Diversifying the business and markets has been a priority, as has allowing Turkey to take advantage of the non-summer months.
German tourist sector
German nationals, who are among Turkey's most important tourism sources, frequently favour Antalya and its neighbouring regions. Last year, Germany was Turkey's second-largest market for tourist arrivals.
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