Tour operators and travel agents in Germany are hoping for a comeback in bookings this autumn after another frustrating pandemic-hit summer season.
They are mostly pinning their hopes on families booking beach holidays at the last minute for the two weeks of school holidays in October/early November. The half-term holiday dates vary slightly from region to region.
The German Travel Industry Association (DRV) claimed that there is "high demand" at present from families with school-age children for traditional destinations such as Spain, Greece and Turkey. Many Mediterranean destinations are extending the summer season this year so that they can welcome guests in October and early November, it pointed out.
In addition, demand is good for Egypt, the Maldives and the Seychelles as beach destinations in the autumn, according to the DRV. There is also 'high interest' in self-drive destinations in Germany, Austria, Italy and the Netherlands, it pointed out.
Key trends at present are a high proportion of late bookings, about 4-6 weeks before departure on average, and with most customers opting for flexible re-booking and cancellation options, the DRV said.
The association admitted that long-term planning remains difficult at present both for customers (especially families with children) and for the travel industry due to frequent changes in cross-border travel regulations. "However, as soon as travel or quarantine restrictions are lifted for a country, then it is booked,"” it stressed.
Among the leading tour operators, TUI has added about 16,000 seats on TUIfly flights for the autumn holidays, including to the Canaries, Hurghada, Cape Verde, Madeira, Balearics and Greece.
The market leader is also offering diverse special prices and discounts to stimulate bookings. TUI's most booked destinations for the autumn are Antalya, Majorca and Crete.
FTI already expanded its flight programme for September, including 330 weekly departures to Spain on various airlines, and has added more flights to Egypt in October.
The tour operator has also extended the season on Crete and Rhodes into November, with 20 partner hotels staying open until the end of the month. As a booking incentive, the company is offering a free rental car for every booking made by October 15 for departures between October 15 and November 15.