International expansion

Schauinsland sets up Swiss branch

Stefan Gutknecht
Stefan Gutknecht

German tour operator Schauinsland-Reisen has hired experienced travel industry manager Stefan Gutknecht to expand its business in Switzerland.

Germany’s sixth-largest tour operator already has a small business in Switzerland where it sells its programme cross-border to German-speaking customers. But owner Gerald Kassner has decided that now is the time for a bigger move into the neighbouring country.

Schauinsland will set up a branch in Switzerland and has hired Stefan Gutknecht to set up the business and manage flight procurement and sales activities. He was previously with charter airline Belair as sales director Switzerland and also worked earlier 11 years for Air Berlin and Flynik as head of sales in Switzerland.

“With Stefan Gutknecht we have been able to secure a real expert in Swiss tourism for this new and important task,” Kassner said. “He will substantially help us to grow further in the Swiss source market and will set the right course for the future.”

Schauinsland has grown rapidly in recent years, including 13% growth to turnover of €1.34 billion and 1.6 million customers in the 2017/18 business year.

The German company operates a traditional tour operator business model, with a strong focus on sales through travel agencies. In addition, Kassner has bought a 50% stake in start-up charter airline Sundair, which sells part of its capacity to Schauinsland but most of its seats to other tour operators.

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