Tour Operator news

  • Cook launches Expedia hotel partnership in Germany: As reported by fvw, Thomas Cook Germany is expanding its portfolio of bookable hotels by 20,000 for 2019, including the first 1,500 properties through the group’s partnership with Expedia. Tour operator brands Neckermann Reisen, Thomas Cook Signature and Öger Tours are offering more than 3,000 additional hotels in Spain, 1,500 in Italy, 1,000 in Greece and 1,000 in Germany along with numerous new properties in the USA, France, Portugal, Poland and the Netherlands. Through Öger Tours a further 1,000 hotels can be booked in Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. Additional long-haul destinations such as South Africa, Mexico and Thailand are due to follow shortly. The massive expansion of bookable hotels has been enabled through agreements with various bedbank suppliers. A Thomas Cook Germany spokeswoman emphasised that the company checks quality and safety standards of the properties before offering them for bookings. About 1,500 hotels have been supplied by Expedia under the strategic partnership between the two groups for city-break and hotel-only offers. This partnership was launched last July in Britain, followed by the Nordics (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland) and Western Europe (France, Belgium, Netherlands), and has now gone live in Germany on a trial basis. Thomas Cook Group said the launch of the alliance in Germany, its biggest market, will give customers and travel agency partners a wider choice of city break and hotel-only holiday options. In addition, Thomas Cook Germany will provide holiday offers to Expedia for sale through its distribution channels. Europe’s second-largest holiday group said the Expedia alliance has proven successful so far, with increased bookings, a much higher booking conversion rate and significant savings. Together with the strategic hotel sourcing partnership with Webjet, overall bed-bank bookings increased 58% in 2018 compared to the previous year.

Aviation news

  • Fly Egypt and Air Cairo take off again to Germany: According to fvw, leading travel trade magazine in Germany, destination carriers Fly Egypt and Air Cairo have resumed flights to and from Germany after resolving issues surrounding their flight licences. The German civil aviation authority withdrew approval for the two leisure airlines to fly to and from Germany in early December with immediate effect “on the grounds of incorrect in-flight logistics”. The carriers apparently did not meet the necessary catering regulations which were imposed for security reasons in 2015. German authorities only allow airlines flying from Egypt to load food and drinks at Cairo Airport but not, for example, at Hurghada or Sharm el-Sheikh. Fly Egypt and Air Cairo operate flights from these two airports to and from 11 airports in Germany as well as to Austria and Switzerland. This is not an issue for German airlines which already transport catering items for return flights on the outbound flights. But Fly Egypt resolved this technical issue before Christmas and regained flight approval status ready to take off again on December 23, for the end-of-year holiday season, according to Carsten Kröger from International Carrier Consult in Hannover, which represents Fly Egypt in Germany. The airline was due to operate its former schedule, based on flights from several German airports to Hurghada. Air Cairo followed suit on December 28 after also solving the same issue, according to aviation portal airliners.de. The temporary ban forced German tour operators to urgently re-book passengers on to other airlines for flights to Egypt for the first few weeks of December. Fly Egypt’s main tour operator client in Germany is FTI, which is the largest German tour operator to Egypt, but other operators have also contracted capacity on the airline. Air Cairo works closely with destination specialist ETI.
  • Eurowings tests long-haul flights: After Speculation has been around for some time, Eurowings has now officially confirmed that the Lufthansa low-cost airline is considering setting up a base for long-haul flights in Frankfurt.  Eurowings already offers reasonably priced direct flights from Munich to touristic long-haul destinations. CEO Thorsten Dirks told the Düsseldorf-based Rheinische Post regional newspaper that Eurowings was looking into the ‘option’ of bringing some long-haul flights to Frankfurt to complement those from Düsseldorf and Munich but had not yet taken any decisions. The newspaper speculated that rival Condor might be forced to downscale some of its intercontinental flights from Frankfurt due to Thomas Cook Group’s financial problems. The parent company Thomas Cook, however, has so far denied to sell its airlines or to reduce capacity.
  • FTI brings out family magalog: According to fvw, the operator FTI has now bundled summer holidays for parents and children in a compendium. In addition to destinations with family-friendly hotels, there are also practical tips for planning and arrival. FTI’s transnational “Best of Family” catalog summarizes family vacation destinations for the summer of 2019. It includes holiday offers in the destinations for Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and France as well as trips to Egypt, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Croatia, Malta, Morocco, Montenegro, Spain, Cyprus, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. According to FTI, the magalog quickly identifies which age group is best suited for accommodation and which services and entertainment programs are offered. Colored flags mark baby, kids and teen hotels. Baby hotels provide cots, high chairs or bottle warmers. Children’s cottages all offer an animation program for children between the ages of three and eleven and have playgrounds and children’s pools. For teenagers suitable houses offer a recreational offer, including karaoke parties and high ropes courses. Sports and wellness options for the parents are usually available. Excursion tips and personal recommendations of the FTI product experts are also included in the magalog.

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