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11.10.2019 – 17:01

Global Communication Experts

GCE news mail: German market news week 41

German market news week 41

Dear all,

Please find hereby the weekly market news:

Market News:

- Central Europe was the big winner in August: According to fvw, Germans were 
  more interested in domestic holidays or nearby destinations than in heading 
  for the Mediterranean in August as the latest fvw Hotel Ranking showed. The 
  clear winners were Germany (+148%), France (+122%), Switzerland (+105%) and 
  Austria (+101%), which all had more than double the number of booking 
  enquiries compared to August 2018, according to the ranking, which is compiled
  in cooperation with data analysts TrevoTrend and ratings portal HolidayCheck. 
  Winners among the big destinations in Southern Europe included Italy (+67%), 
  Croatia (+56%), Greece (+32%), Spain (+20%), Portugal (+14%) and Turkey 
  (+9%).The main losers, according to the ranking, were Bulgaria (-24%), Cyprus 
  (-16%) and Egypt (-1%). But other North African and Middle Eastern 
  destinations performed better, with stronger interest in Morocco (+47%), the 
  UAE (+47%) and Tunisia (+12%). In terms of hotel recommendations, German 
  holidaymakers were more satisfied with hotels in Tunisia and Cyprus (+4%), 
  Spain and France (both +2%). They were less satisfied with holiday 
  accommodation in Morocco (-5%), UAE and Bulgaria (both -4%). 
- Hotelplan buys German dynamic tour operator Vtours: Switzerland's Hotelplan 
  Group is making a move into the German tourism market with the takeover of 
  dynamic tour operator Vtours, reports fvw. The Swiss group is buying the 
  German company, including its Vtours international subsidiary, for an 
  undisclosed sum. Both brands will continue to trade autonomously under their 
  established names under the management of CEO Achim Schneider, the former 
  owner. "With Vtours we have achieved a success story over the last 15 years, 
  and we're delighted to have a strong partner at our side for our future 
  development," Schneider said. "Through the merger, we can become active not 
  only in Germany, Austria and Switzerland but throughout Europe, and benefit 
  above all from the technological expertise of the Hotelplan Group," he added. 
  Hotelplan Group CEO Thomas Stirnimann described Vtours as a "profitable, 
  creative, innovative and growing provider" and said it offered "ideal 
  complementary" synergy potential in IT, procurement and sales to grow in the 
  German-speaking markets. Vtours, with 150 employees, generates annual turnover
  of more than 400 million Euro. The pioneer of dynamic holiday packages in 
  Germany now offers holidays in about 7,000 hotels in 195 destinations, selling
  through travel agencies and online via OTAs. The Hotelplan Group, with 
  turnover of CHF 1.4 billion (1.3 billion Euro) last year, is the largest 
  Swiss-owned tourism group. To date, it has only been active in the German 
  market through its holiday home businesses InterChalet and Interhome. 

Tour Operators:

- Thomas Cook cancels further trips: The German organizers of the insolvent 
  Thomas Cook must cancel all trips before December 31st, reports the travel 
  trade magazine TravelTalk. According to Thomas Cook, the affected customers 
  should be informed proactively as quickly as possible. After the Cook 
  organizers had already cancelled all trips by the end of October, the period 
  will now be extended to the end of the year. The new regulation applies to the
  tour operator brands Thomas Cook Signature, Thomas Cook Signature Finest 
  Selection, Neckermann Reisen, Öger Tours, Bucher Reisen and Air Marin - as 
  well as to services booked via Thomas Cook International. In addition, the new
  date also applies if the trips have already been partially or fully paid for, 
  as the company from Oberursel explained on Wednesday. Thomas Cook announced 
  that for trips with a travel start date of January 1, 2020, the further 
  procedure will be reviewed in consultation with the insolvency administrator. 
  Affected customers should file their claims with Kaera, the service provider 
  commissioned by the responsible insurance company Zurich. 
- Rivals target Cook customers and expand hotel capacity: According to fvw, 
  leading tour operators in Germany, including TUI, DER Touristik, FTI, Alltours
  and Schauinsland-Reisen, are trying to win Thomas Cook customers with special 
  offers and have secured additional capacity from former Cook hotel partners 
  after the insolvent tour operator cancelled all bookings up to December 31. 
  Amid uncertainty whether Thomas Cook can make any kind of comeback in Germany,
  competitors have been quick to offer affected customers various alternative 
  holiday options and sign up capacity with hoteliers who previously marketed 
  their properties exclusively or mostly through the insolvent tour operator. In
  terms of sales, TUI hopes to sign up "a three-digit" number of former Thomas 
  Cook travel agencies to expand its network of sales partners. The company is 
  offering Cook customers the option of booking an alternative TUI holiday until
  October 20 without having to make any advance payment and offering a 50 Euro 
  discount on holidays costing more than 699 Euro. Customers would be able to 
  cancel free of charge with TUI if Thomas Cook was able to carry out the 
  originally planned trip. Germany CEO Marek Andryszak declared it was "bitter" 
  when a long-standing competitor left the market but emphasized that TUI was a 
  financially strong group with a different business model than Cook that 
  customers and partners could rely on. There was a similar message today from 
  Rewe-owned DER Touristik, which will become Germany's second-largest tour 
  operator in future. CEO Sören Hartmann said: "We are a strong group. As Rewe 
  Group we stand for reliability, quality and solvency. Holidaymakers and hotel,
  airline and travel agency partners can be certain that they can rely on us. 
  "In terms of sales activities, DER Touristik is paying travel agents 2% 
  additional commission for bookings from former Cook customers by October 31 
  and is offering attractively-priced holidays with Condor flights for the 
  forthcoming autumn half-term holidays in Caribbean and Indian Ocean 
  destinations. Meanwhile, Alltours said it has "taken over a large part" of the
  hotel and bed capacity of Thomas Cook's German tour operators in many 
  Mediterranean and some long-haul destinations. It is now taking bookings for 
  these hotels, which include Sentido, Casa Cook, Cook's Club and Sunconnect 
  properties as well as Iberostar and H10 hotels, for winter 2019/20 and summer 
  2020. "This means that no holidaymaker has to give up on their preferred 
  hotel," explained Karsten Fricke, the tour operator's hotel procurement 
  director. In addition, Alltours is offering all customers booking a winter or 
  summer holiday by November 15 the option of a free cancellation or re-booking 
  to an alternative destination. Elsewhere, FTI is now offering holidays in 300 
  formerly exclusive Thomas Cook hotels (including Iberostar, Sentido and 
  Sunconnect properties). Moreover, DER Touristik, FTI and Schauinsland are all 
  offering the club resorts of Aldiana, which previously had a wide-ranging 
  sales agreement with minority owner Thomas Cook. DER Touristik Central Europe 
  chief Ingo Burmester said the Aldiana clubs "ideally extend" the group's 
  product portfolio. 

Aviation News:

- Tuifly plans return to long-haul business: According to Reisevor9, this 
  emerges from an internal paper reported by several media. According to the 
  paper, the TUI airline plans to fly to long-haul destinations again by winter 
  2020/21. But a final decision has not yet been made. According to the paper, 
  which the trade journal Touristik Aktuell first reported on, TUI intends "to 
  achieve extensive market entry in long-haul traffic with modern Boeing 787 
  aircraft". The focus would be on destinations where TUI owns its own hotels or
  where major cruise ports are located. Following the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook,
  Tuifly's Supervisory Board agreed to examine the market entry in this segment 
  in Germany as well. This can also be seen as a rejection of a stake in Condor,
  which has been the subject of repeated speculation recently. In order to 
  implement the plans, TUI needs the approval of the employee representatives 
  and the trade unions. This could involve tough negotiations. FVW reports that 
  "productivity improvements are required as a prerequisite for the successful 
  economic operation of such new routes, which would then also pay for the 
  long-haul route". This would now be discussed with the employee 
  representatives. The discussion would not focus on salary issues, but rather 
  on the rules governing the working hours of flying personnel. 

Cruise News:

- Atmosfair stops cruise compensation: So far, travelers have been able to 
  offset the CO2 emissions caused by cruises through Atmosfair via donations. 
  Now the Environment Agency is stopping this compensation, fvw reports. 
  According to Atmosfair CEO Brockhagen, the reason is the industry's lack of 
  commitment for more climate protection. Consumers can use Atmosfair's exhaust 
  gas calculator to determine the CO2 emissions they cause on their travels and 
  make a donation to a climate protection project to offset these emissions, a 
  concept that Atmosfair had previously offered for flights and cruises. 
  However, this is no longer possible for cruises. "For effective climate 
  protection, CO2 compensation may only be secondary to the actual CO2 reduction
  in the ship. However, the industry's own contribution is too low here", 
  Atmosfair Managing Director Dietrich Brockhagen explains to fvw. New cruise 
  ships could already operate with synthetic liquefied natural gas (LNG) from 
  renewable energies. Conventional LNG massively reduces sulphur and nitrogen 
  oxides, which reduces local environmental pollution, Brockhagen continues. But
  CO2 emissions, which are relevant to climate change, are not being reduced 
  accordingly, despite this being already possible today. Atmosfair had tried to
  set impulses in a cooperation with the industry, but the demands and speed had
  been far apart. Brockhagen: "It is not discernible that the cruise industry is
  on the right path to compliance with the Paris Climate Agreement. In this 
  situation, CO2 compensation would only be used as a pretext." 

Best regards and enjoy your weekend,

your GCE Team

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