Thomas Cook / Alltours

Greece boom outweighs Turkey slump

Thomas Cook Germany is having a better summer this year while Alltours expects solid growth despite mixed trends on Majorca.

March 16, 2017
Thomas Cook Germany chief Stefanie Berk
Photo: Lenthe/touristik-foto.de

Thomas Cook Germany is successfully coping with another year of lower Turkey bookings after expanding capacity to other destinations. Turkey is a key destination for the group, with specialist brand Öger Tours and a large Condor flight programme to the country.

“This year, in contrast to last year, we have been able to more than compensate for the decline to Turkey with growth in other destinations,” managing director Stefanie Berk told fvw at ITB Berlin. Overall, Germany’s second-largest tour operator thus has “a high single-digit revenue increase” for summer 2017, she said.

Berk emphasised that Turkey capacity is being kept stable apart from the cancellation of Dalaman flights while early booking discounts have been extended by one month to encourage more bookings.

Thomas Cook moved early to expand capacity for summer 2017 in other destinations, such as Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus and southern Italy, while additional hotel capacity has been contracted in Hurghada. Demand is also good for the Canary Islands and long-haul trips, including to the Caribbean and Canada.

Berk said the group is also continuing to increase cooperation between its tour operators in Continental Europe to reduce parallel structures and save costs in source markets. Belgium and the Netherlands are now working more closely with Germany in procurement, product and marketing. France and Eastern Europe will follow next summer.

Cooperation has become easier as the group is now focusing its core holiday products on 500 mostly exclusive hotels, including 200 own-brand properties, along with 2,500 others where the group is a strong sales partner, she explained.

Meanwhile, rival Alltours expects to increase revenues and guest number by 4.5% this year thanks to strong bookings for Greece that are making up for currently lower bookings for Majorca this summer.

Managing director Markus Daldrup said that Germany’s fifth-largest tour operator has a very high 50% surge in bookings for Greece this year, similar to very high double-digit growth rates for other leading tour operators. Demand is also good for Spain and Bulgaria but Turkey bookings are down by 50% this year, also matching heavy slumps at other tour operators.

More importantly for Alltours, its top destination Majorca is showing a mixed performance so far with a slight increase in revenues but slightly lower customer numbers. Owner Willi Verhuven said this is due to some “excessive” price increases by hoteliers this year that have left the hotels difficult to sell. Price hikes of 5-7% are in line with market trends and acceptable “but half of the hoteliers have gone too far” with increases of up to 20%, he said.

The group’s own hotel chain Allsun, with 26 properties on Majorca alone, is positioning itself with “moderate” prices, according to Verhuven. Thanks to strong demand for these hotels, Alltours still expects to end with growth of 5-10% for Majorca this year despite the current decline.

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