Destination airports

Greek and Bulgarian destinations win in April

Holiday bookings for major destinations in Greece and Bulgaria rose strongly on the German market last month but demand for Turkey and Egypt dropped yet again, according to monthly figures showing package sales to major airports.

Heraklion, the main Crete gateway airport, showed a 30% rise in bookings, and overtook Fuerteventura to become the third-largest destination airport with an 8% share (of all bookings for the 10 top ranked airports), figures from leading German holiday reservations provider Traveltainment showed. This followed a 27% bookings rise in March and a 56% surge in February. Rhodes also had a good month in April with a 13% rise in bookings while Kos made a comeback with a 21% increase.

The highest growth rate, however, was achieved by Varna, the main airport serving Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast. Bookings for the airport soared by 60% last month after strong increases of 45% in March and 35% in February. Remarkably, package prices including flights to Varna remain cheaper on average this year than last year, according to separate figures from data specialists TrevoTrend.

Spanish destinations continued to generate solid double-digit growth last month. Bookings to Palma and Fuerteventura were up by 14%, to Las Palmas by a very high 36% and to Tenerife South by 26% as the Canaries remained a very popular alternative destination.

Once again, Antalya and Hurghada were the two big losers last month. Bookings to the Turkish Riviera gateway airport declined by 22%, although this was somewhat better than the falls of 40-50% seen from January to March. Average package prices to Antalya were more than 16% cheaper last month than one year earlier as tour operators continued to seek bookings with price reductions, Traveltainment figures showed.

Bookings for Hurghada dropped by 29% in April, continuing several months of large-scale falls in bookings to the largest Egyptian Red Sea airport.

Traveltainment's Bistro system is used by some 11,000 travel agencies in Germany to make package holiday bookings from 130 tour operators, while its Internet Booking Engine is used by more than 350 online travel agents and portals.