Increase in tour operator turnover – online with higher growth rates

“We experience turbulent times, but the desire for vacation is remaining strong amongst Germans,” Norbert Fiebig, President of the German Travel Association (DRV), stated during the DRV Annual Meeting in Ras Al Khaimah when he looked back on the tourism year 2016/17 (cut-off date: 31 October 2017). Numerous travel destinations such as Egypt and Greece attracted significantly more tourists this year and the turnover of the tour operator market was again significantly increasing according to the market research company GfK – by at least 2%. This rise is based, more particularly, on a strong-growth summer season 2017 with a 4% rise in turnover.

The first GfK projection is representative but does not yet include all segments of the German travel market – for instance not yet the individually organised market. “We, therefore, assume that growth for the full tourism market has altogether even been higher after cruises, bookings via call centres and smaller special tour operators will have been fully covered,” Fiebig continued. The full picture for the travel market will be available in late February 2018.

The most important sales channel in 2017 remained high-street travel agencies. But online sales through so-called OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) and via travel portals of the tour operators had significantly higher growth rates with plus 12%. “Most customers book their tour operator vacation in high-street travel agencies but increasing sales revenues are generated online with tour operators directly or via online travel agencies,” Fiebig summed up the trend. The development of the number of high-street travel agencies and their absolute sales numbers for 2017 in the two segments of private and business travel will likewise be completed and published in February 2018. A first estimate assumes that the number of travel agencies has been stable.

Outlook: advance bookings for the new winter season 2017/18
The already started winter season 2017/18 has an accumulated increase in turnover of 2% according to the GfK numbers for the booking status at the end of October 2017. “With this positive tendency we are full of expectations for 2018 and expect another plus for the tourism year 2017/18,” Fiebig stressed.
Explanation of the data collection:
In the above-mentioned numbers of GfK (Travel Insights), the booking developments in high-street travel agencies and on travel portals of tour operators as well as so-called OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) are taken into consideration. They do not include the travel bookings in call centres as well as direct bookings from service providers (flight, rail, hotel) and on product portals such as Booking or Airbnb. When referring to the “overall market” this includes essentially the market of the organised tour operator trips. The cruise segment includes CRS bookings.