fvw survey

German tour operators predict better business in 2018

Tour operators in Germany are optimistic about higher sales this year, with many predicting revenue growth of more than 5%, an fvw survey found.

January 09, 2018
Crete and other Greek destinations should see strong demand again.
Photo: Thinkstock

After relatively low market growth of about 2% in 2017, according to GfK estimates, German tour operators believe business will pick up more strongly this year. In particular, the stable economy, higher consumption levels and low unemployment provide a good macro-economic background for the tourism market, according to experts.

Nearly all tour operators surveyed by fvw expect higher sales in 2018, with specialist tour operators particularly optimistic. Out of the 30 companies who provided figures and forecasts, nearly half expect revenues to increase by more than 5% in 2018, while a third are planning with growth of 2-5%. Only a handful expect lower or negative growth. The top three, TUI, Thomas Cook and DER Touristik, did not provide any forecasts for this year but indicated at their recent summer programme presentations that they expect single-digit revenue growth in 2018.

“Package holidays will be in demand after the turbulence in 2017, for example in the flight market,” predicted Alltours chief Markus Daldrup. “Nearly all destinations are showing a clear rise in revenues for summer 2018,” commented Schauinsland-Reisen owner Gerald Kassner.

In terms of short- and medium-haul destinations, tour operators generally expect good business for Spain, Portugal and Croatia, higher demand again for Greece and continued recoveries for Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia.

“Greece is safe and hospitable. Bookings will increase again in 2018,” predicted a confident Michael Karava, owner of Attika Reisen. However, Achim Schneider, CEO of dynamic packaging operator Vtours, warned: “Spain and Greece will come under pressure due to higher prices.” A hopeful Deniz Ugur, CEO of Bentour, pointed out: “Families are booking Turkey more strongly once again.”

Among long-haul destinations, tour operators expect good bookings for Asia, South Africa and Canada, along with a recovery for the Caribbean after the impact of last autumn’s hurricanes. But they are sceptical about prospects for the USA which already suffered last year from a higher exchange rate and the ‘Trump Effect’. Operators are split over the chances of a comeback for Germans’ top long-haul destination.

In contrast, most companies foresee strong cruise holiday sales once again. “Cruises are sexy,” claimed Karl Pojer, head of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and industry association Clia Germany. “New ships and concepts are attracting more and more people to go on a cruise holiday.”

However, German tour operators are also realistic about the potential risks for business this year, including political uncertainties in major destinations, the risk of terror attacks, the impact of ‘overtourism’ in some crowded destinations, and the consequences of turbulence in the aviation sector.

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