Destination airports

Crete consolidates growth as Palma slows

Greece continued to show good growth on the German holiday market last month while bookings to Palma slowed and there are initial signs of a comeback for Turkey, according to monthly figures showing package sales to major airports.

June 15, 2016
Rhodes Airport
Photo: Hecki/Wikimedia public domain

Heraklion, the main gateway for Crete, generated a solid 12% rise in bookings in May following high double-digit growth in previous months (including 30% in April, 27% in March and 56% in February), figures from leading German holiday reservations provider Traveltainment showed. Rhodes again generated a 13% rise in bookings, the same rate as in April, while Kos continued its comeback with a 27% increase following a rise of 21% in April.

Unsurprisingly, package prices for Crete and Rhodes are also going up, according to Traveltainment figures. The average price of a package including flights to Heraklion was 12.8% higher last month than one year earlier while Rhodes was 9.9% more expensive.

Once again, Varna, the main airport serving Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, showed the strongest growth among the ten largest destination airports with a 46% rise in bookings. This followed similar high growth rates in recent months, with 60% in April, 45% in March and 35% in February.

In contrast, bookings to Palma grew by only 6% in May compared to 14% in April in a possible sign of limited capacity for Majorca. Similarly, demand for the Canary Islands weakened somewhat following a strong April. There was a 10% rise in bookings to Las Palmas but an 8% fall for Fuerteventura and a low 2% increase for Tenerife South.

Meanwhile, claims by German tour operators of improved bookings for Turkey in the last few weeks could be borne out by the latest booking figures for packages to Antalya. After high double-digit falls in the last few months, there was a drop of only 8% in May on last year’s high booking levels. This was sufficient to push the Turkish Riviera gateway airport well ahead of Palma as the largest destination airport in terms of passenger volumes. Antalya had 34% of all bookings to the ten largest destination airports, a rise of seven percentage points on April, while Palma dropped back by three percentage points to a 26% share.

Elsewhere, bookings for Hurghada were down by 45% as demand for holidays in Egypt continued to fall steeply.

Traveltainment's Bistro system is used by some 11,000 travel agencies in Germany to make package holiday bookings from 130 tour operators, while its Internet Booking Engine is used by more than 350 online travel agents and portals.

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