Destination trends

German package bookings take off in September

German bookings for top holiday destinations grew strongly last month with double-digit increases for Turkey, Egypt and Greece and much better demand for Spain, the latest monthly package holiday booking figures from Amadeus show.

After a weak start to the year and then a gradual improvement in the last few months, German package and online bookings for the top ten mass destinations increased by a healthy 8.1% in September compared to the same month last year (click on interactive graphic to see previous months’ figures). Winter sun destinations were particularly in demand.

Contrary to recent trends, travel agency bookings were the main growth driver with a 10% rise while online bookings were only up by 6.5%. This came even though the average holiday price for the top 10 destinations last month was 26% higher in travel agencies (€919 per person) than online (€730).

Among the top destinations, Antalya (+15.7%) retained top spot with solid double-digit growth thanks to strong bookings through travel agencies (+20.7%) and online (+12.4%). In a sign of strong demand for Turkey, Izmir (+31.4%) on the Aegean coast broke into the top ten for the first time for many months.

Egypt again performed well in September with a very good increase for Hurghada (+14.8%) that left it only fractionally behind second-placed Palma. Online bookings (+16.7%) were ahead of travel agency sales (+12%) for the Red Sea destination.

The big winners last month included the Canaries which appear to be making a long-awaited comeback on the German market after responding to criticism about high prices. The Spanish islands have seen strong declines in German bookings over the last year and longer.

Fuerteventura (+3.7%), Tenerife South (+0.8%) and Lanzarote (+5.7%) were all in positive territory in September while only Las Palmas (-9.4%) suffered a significant decline. Once again, the four islands saw better bookings though travel agencies than online. For example, there was a 12.5% increase in offline bookings for Fuerteventura but a 4.4% drop in online sales. The trend was similar for Tenerife (+9.9% vs -8.5%) and Lanzarote (+16.7% vs -6.5%).

Elsewhere, Palma (-3.4%) again dropped back with lower offline and online bookings last month but still retained second place overall. Greece also had a good month with clear growth for Heraklion (+13.1%) and Rhodes (+18.1%), although the destinations have now entered the low season.

Amadeus Leisure IT (formerly Traveltainment) claims to handle the bulk of offline (travel agency) and online bookings for tour operator holidays on the German market, making its booking figures a reliable indicator of demand trends.