“The travel agency sector has effectively lost a year of growth,” said the Nuremberg-based marketing research firm GfK as it released the latest monthly data on travel agency sales for the year ending Oct. 31st. The report is based on an analysis of bookings by 1,500 travel agencies.
The Bad News:
—According to GfK’s latest market survey, German travel agency vacation sales have declined by 5 percent this year; the worse news is that winter bookings are still weak so far. Other sobering points noted in the GfK report including the following:
—The numbers mean that the German organized travel market has recorded its first revenue in years.
—Summer revenues dropped by 7 percent.
—The main reason for the drop-off was an overall 29 percent decline in sales of holidays in the Eastern Mediterranean, which outweighed growth in Western European and other destinations.
—Demand for winter holidays is also weak at present, with an 11 percent drop in bookings compared to October 2015, leaving accumulated bookings so far for winter 2016/17 down by 8 percent.
The Good News on the Horizon:
—Early bookings for summer 2017 are 1 percent ahead of the same period last year, and they accounted for nearly 47 percent of total revenues last month, 10 percentage points higher than in October 2015.
—Meanwhile, Germans are continuing to book more cruise holidays than ever before; there was a 43 percent rise in bookings last month compared to October 2015, according to the monthly sales survey of some 2,500 travel agencies by IT services company TATS. They are now running at an overall 12% increase.
—Travel agents are currently more optimistic than in recent months after writing off this year and looking ahead to 2017. The latest FVW “sales climate index” conducted in early November showed.
—About one quarter of German travel agents now expect rising sales in the coming months and about half expect stable revenues, which is higher than the comparable figures one month earlier.