German market trends

Tour operators launch 2020 holidays

The TUI Blue Marmaris is one of TUI's bookable hotels for summer 2020.
The TUI Blue Marmaris is one of TUI's bookable hotels for summer 2020.

Leading tour operators in Germany are already taking bookings for summer 2020 holidays at the same time as trying to stimulate bookings for this summer.

Amid weak sales for summer 2019, market leader TUI has opened up for travel agency reservations of the most popular hotels in Turkey and Bulgaria for summer 2020. The tour operator is offering holidays in more than 1,600 hotels in Turkey and about 100 in Bulgaria between April and October 2020. Properties includes the group’s own brands such as TUI Blue, Robinson, Magic Life, Best Family and Suneo Club.

In addition, TUI will offer its ‘biggest flight programme of all time’ to Turkey next summer. There will be daily flights to Antalya from all large German airports while TUIfly will serve Dalaman up to 11 times a week from five German airports. TUI is so far planning up to three weekly flights to Burgas and Varna in Bulgaria from 12 German airports. Early booking discounts are available for all destinations.

In parallel, TUIfly has opened its entire summer 2020 flight schedule for bookings. The airline is planning to operate 32 planes from a dozen German airports and Basel in Switzerland, with up to 460 flights a week to major holiday destinations. In 2018, TUIfly flew a total of 7.9 million passengers for TUI and other tour operators with a fleet of 39 B737s.

Nearly one third of all TUIfly flights next summer will be to the Greek islands (Corfu, Crete, Kos and Rhodes) but Majorca will remain its biggest destination with nearly 360,000 seats per week and there will be 90 weekly flights to the Canaries. In addition, the airline plans to sign up partner carriers to operate contract flights from the regional airports of Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden and Paderborn-Lippstadt.

Meanwhile, Thomas Cook has also opened up its summer 2020 programme for reservations of package and hotel-only bookings. The German number two did not disclose how many hotels it is already offering through its main brands (Neckermann Reisen, Thomas Cook Signature and Öger Tours) for next summer but said these include destinations such as Spain, Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Cyprus, along with major long-haul destinations in the Caribbean, Asia, Indian Ocean and other regions.

Rival DER Touristik has also made many destinations offered by its tour operator brands available for bookings for summer 2020. Short-haul destinations include Majorca, Antalya, the Canaries and North Africa, while there are also various long-haul destinations in Africa, Asia, Indian Ocean, the Caribbean and Latin America.

Several specialist tour operators are looking even further ahead and are taking bookings for both 2020 and 2021. Travel agents can book the full 2020 programme of cultural holidays operator Gebeco (a TUI brand) and provisionally reserve dates of the current programme for 2021. Similarly, the entire 2020 programme of Wikinger Reisen can be booked from July 23 onwards.