Destination trends:

Spain tourism continues to decline in July: Overall, according to official statistics, almost five percent fewer visitors came to Spain than in the same month last year. The number of German tourists dropped accordingly by 6.2 percent, from the main source market Great Britain 5.6 percent fewer visitors arrived. The French source market even suffered a minus of 11.4 percent. Against this background, the total number of visitors for the first seven months of the current year stands at 47 million. From Germany, however, a fall of 5.8 percent has to be noted, from the United Kingdom 2.8 percent fewer tourists arrived, from France 1.7 percent less. By contrast, visitor numbers rose from the U.S. (11.4 percent), Portugal (7.5 percent) and Russia (6 percent).

Tour operator news:

Berge & Meer becomes exclusive partner at LH Holidays: Now round trips from Berge & Meer can be booked via Lufthansa’s tour operator portal (LH). Travel of the organizer from the Westerwald can be found and booked there under the navigation “round trips”. The trips are marketed, including tours of Sicily, Japan and the US, under the slogan “Travel. For explorers “. The packages often include Lufthansa Group flights. “We are pleased about the new sales partner who is the ideal showcase for our round trips and adventure trips,” says Berge & Meer CEO Dunker. The tours that can be found at LH Holidays are only bookable online. “Round trips are very interesting for our target group,” says Natalie Schlüter, portal manager Lufthansa Holidays. “Now we can supplement our previous portfolio with the German market leader in this area.”

Thomas Cook Germany chief Stefanie Berk told fvw in an interview that package holidays should become much more personalised in future to offer customers a better experience. Traditional ‘package holidays’ no longer exist, according to the experienced tourism manager. “The words don’t even describe the product any more. No one wants to be part of a package. Instead, it’s about an individual kind of holiday,” she insisted. Tour operator holidays have already been made much more flexible in the last few years through measures such as different lengths of holidays, ‘open-jaw’ flights with different arrival and return departure airports, and more choice of hotel rooms, said Berk, who is responsible for Thomas Cook’s tour operator activities in Germany and Central Europe. The second stage of this modernisation process is the current phase of ‘individualising’ package holidays. “We offer various services; for example, customers can select their preferred hotel room or reserve a sunbed in advance,” she said. But Berk is already looking ahead to a third phase, when package holidays could become more personalised.

Cruise and airline news:

German travel agents downgrade cruise operators: All major ocean cruise operators have been given worse ratings this year by German travel agents who underlined the importance of routings, destinations and excursions in this year’s exclusive fvw Cruise Study. Overall, German travel agents remain very confident about the importance and potential of cruise holidays. On average, they now generate 23% of their revenues from cruise holiday sales. An overwhelming 90% of surveyed agents believe that the market segment will continue to grow in future. But travel agents have also become more critical about cruise operators and gave lower scores than last year to all 17 ocean cruise lines in the table below (on a scale of 1 to 6). The exclusive fvw study surveyed 200 representative travel agents for their views on 23 ocean cruise and six river cruise companies in terms of 15 different product and sales criteria. German firms TUI Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Aida Cruises remained the top three operators in the fvw ranking but with lower scores than last year. The German cruise firms ranked highly in many of the product and sales categories. However, only 62% of travel agents said that Aida Cruises has ‘a clear brand profile’ compared to 79% last year. The German market leader’s fleet expansion with larger ships for a wider range of customers is the main reason for this. In contrast, TUI Cruises has a clear profile for a high 80% of agents. In general, traditional product factors were rated higher by German travel agents this year. For example, 84% described the ship’s routing as a very important or essential sales factor compared to 75% last year, while the choice of destinations was very important or essential for 78% this year compared to 74% last year. Land excursions are also very important, according to 64% this year compared to just 49% last year. Yet agents gave worse average scores for routings and excursions, possibly reflecting the trend towards more ships operating similar routes to the same destinations and offering virtually identical excursions. Among other sales and product criteria, agents rated ‘reliable quality’ and gastronomy more highly this year and gave a slightly better score for commission levels. The importance of a cruise operator’s brand dropped back slightly but remained high at 78%. Against the background of public debate over the environmental impact of cruise ships, more agents also rated ‘environment’ as important this year while 72% described ‘sustainability’ (a new category) as important or very important. Aida, Norway’s Hurtigruten and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises rated best in this category.

Airline Association calls for expansion stop: To avoid flight delays and cancellations, the representatives of foreign airlines united in Barig are calling for an expansion stop at some German airports. The number of flights should not be extended at “some airports,” said the association now in Frankfurt. This is the only way to maintain the high quality and punctuality of German airspace and international competition. Capacity bottlenecks caused flight cancellations, delays and dissatisfied customers in June, complained the association, which represents more than 100 German and international airlines. “Now all actors in the industry as well as authorities and politicians are called upon to find common solutions,” said Barig General Secretary Michael Hoppe. Necessary would be more efficient security controls, a more modern infrastructure and more capacity in the airspace. The airport association ADV refused caps. “The problems in the aviation industry should not distract from the fact that the urgently needed capacities in the airspace and on the ground have to be created today,” explained Chief Executive Ralph Beisel. Airports contribute less than ten percent to delays. In the summer there were always long queues, flight delays and deletions at German airports. In Frankfurt and Munich, there were safety margins that paralyzed the major airports in the meantime. At an aviation summit in Hamburg in early October, representatives of airlines, airports, German air traffic control and the Federal Ministry of Transport want to seek solutions. Barig had already protested last winter against the expansion of capacity at Frankfurt Airport, which is currently growing over budget airlines.

How an engine causes troubles for Lufthansa: Lufthansa has come so far this year to more than 10,000 canceled or delayed flights. Officially, the line sought the blame especially in bad weather and strikes. Now the manager admitted that the company has taken over the integration of the ex-rivals Air Berlin. “The Lufthansa Group works in a 110 percent mode. Some will say, in a 120 percent mode, “says Spohr. But he immediately added: “It is a common problem of the industry – beyond us Airlines.” Particularly the manager is worried about the contribution of a business partner, who did not appear with the accomplices before: Airbus. Its medium-range jets A320neo does not work well two and a half years after the introduction of new engines as promised. Due to the ongoing technical problems several thousand flights could not start as planned this year.

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