Were it not for the fact that up-to-date numbers will not be available for months, the latest arrivals figures seem to confirm what the tour and travel industry’s receptive tour operators had suspected early on in 2016: it was not going to be a good year for inbound traffic from Germany. Then, on Dec. 27, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) released arrivals data from the first half of the year showing that 2016 could end up being even worse than anticipated. We took the latest information from NTTO and compared it to the same period last year; the numbers speak for themselves:
Then, on Dec. 29, the German travel trade publication, FVW, credited cruise product as the principal reason “the German tour operator market just managed to remain on the growth path this year.”
Customer numbers dropped by 1.9 percent to 31.4 million, according to an FVW survey of 52 tour operators, although tour operator revenues rose by “a fractional 0.9 percent” to €21.2 billion ($22.3 billion). Cruise holiday sales increased by 14.7 percent. The 52 operators surveyed account for 80 percent of the total German market.
The operator industry’s Top 10 performed as follows, according to FVW:TUI Germany remained clear market leader despite a 2 percent decline to turnover of €4.4 billion ($4.63 billion) and a 5 percent decline fall in customers to 6 million.
- TUI Germany remained clear market leader despite a 2 percent decline to turnover of €4.4 billion ($4.63 billion) and a 5 percent decline fall in customers to 6 million.
- Thomas Cook had stable revenues of €3.5 billion ($3.68 billion) and 6.1 million customers in Germany thanks to its Condor brand’s seat-only sales.
- DER Touristik’s revenues fell 4 percent to €2.8 billion ($2.95 billion) and customer numbers were down nearly 7 percent at 5.4 million.
- FTI revenues grew by 3 percent to €2.2 billion ($2.3 billion) and customer numbers increased by 1.3 percent to 3.9 million.
- Aida Cruises took over fifth place, with 14 percent revenue growth to €1.5bn and a 10 percent increase in passengers to just over 900,000 after launching a new ship, the Aida Prima.
- Alltours dropped to sixth after revenues slumped 11.5 percent to €1.33 billion ($1.4 billion) and customer numbers fell 13 percent to 1.6 million.
- Schauinsland-Reisen held revenues stable at €1.1 billion ($1.16 billion) and customer numbers at 1.4 million.
- 9., 10. Three cruise firms (TUI Cruises, Phoenix Reisen and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises) completed the top ten tour operator ranking.
Looking ahead to 2017, FVW reported German tour operators were generally optimistic about improving sales, although market leaders did not comment on their expectations. Among the 35 firms who commented on their revenue expectations, one third predicted up to 5 percent growth and one third up to 10 percent growth.