The German cruise holiday boom could continue for another decade to reach four million passengers by 2017, experts predict.
Traditional beach holidays and other trips will continue to lose customers to cruise trips in the years to come, according to cruise operators in Germany. The segment already makes up 13% of the country’s overall tour operator market.
In 2016, the number of Germans going on an ocean cruise holiday topped two million passengers for the first time, with a strong 11% rise to the new record of 2.02 million customers. The sector’s turnover (excluding on-board sales and excursions) grew by 18% to €3.4 billion, the annual DRV/CLIA Europe market survey found.
According to short-term forecasts, the number of passengers is expected to rise to three million by 2020. This 50% increase would represent continued low double-digit growth for the next four years.
However, TUI Cruises CEO Wybcke Meier went even further at a travel agents event last week. “By 2027, I can imagine four million German cruise guests,” she declared. This would mean a doubling of the market within a decade.
Meier highlighted the considerable future potential for cruises. According to a survey by the TUI subsidiary, 56% of Germans cannot yet imagine going on a cruise holiday. However, a total of 4.5 million Germans spend a holiday in a club or a four-star hotel every year. “Land holidays and cruises will complement each other in future,” she predicted.
Cruise expert Oliver Wulf, a board member of the German Travel Association (DRV), commented: “The cruise companies cannot satisfy demand with direct sales. They have recognised that. The doors are open for travel agencies.”
At present, the repeat rate for cruise guests lies between 40% and 50%. “This means that every second guest is a cruise newcomer. And travel agencies are exactly the place to find them. And then the agents have the chance to earn from this growth,” he declared.