Germans have shown little interest in booking package trips for the forthcoming UEFA European Championship and most fans appear to have organised tickets and travel individually.
Under UEFA’s ticket sales policy, all match tickets are being sold or distributed centrally through UEFA and the national football associations, such as the German Football Association (DFB). UEFA planned to sell one million tickets in total for the Euro 2016 championship, with 75% due to be sold through its online sales portal from April 26 onwards. In addition, Germans had to join the DFB’s ‘National Team Fan Club’ in order to apply for tickets, while a large proportion of tickets were set aside for sponsors.
UEFA specifically said: “Tickets may not be used for any commercial purposes, including promotions, advertising, as prizes in competitions or sweepstakes, or as a part of a travel package (e.g. combining flights, hotel and tickets).” This procedure meant that tour operators were legally prevented from acquiring tickets and thus being able to offer full packages combining travel and match tickets.
In response, only specialist Vietentours decided to offer travel packages for fans with their own tickets, while Dertour and fellow specialist Voss + Votara, which both traditionally also offered packages for major international football championships, opted not to bother.
However, this move appears not to have paid off for Vietentours. It has sold only a triple-digit number of packages offering travel, accommodation, excursions and special events such as meetings with ex-soccer stars.
“No one can be satisfied with customer demand,” commented managing director Ingo Frieske. He blamed media coverage following the terror attacks in Paris for depressing demand and admitted that even regular customers had decided against travelling to France because they were afraid of terror attacks during the football championships.
Overall, about 1.5 million foreign visitors are expected in France for the European Championship, which runs from June 10 to July 10.