News in brief

Pay rises and new-look travel agencies

Higher pay for travel industry employees and futuristic travel agencies are in the news this week.

Travel agency and tour operator employees in Germany will get single-digit pay rises under a new collective agreement between employers and the services union Verdi. Under the agreement, there will be different pay structures for tour operators and travel agents in future. Tour operator staff will have a salary increase of over 7% while agents will receive a 4% rise on average. The deal, the first collective agreement since 2010, only runs until October as the two sides now want to negotiate a further deal taking more account of individual criteria such as performance and success factors.

Thomas Cook plans to open its first ‘travel agency of the future’ in Hamburg with a pilot store in the next few months. Ten other similar travel shops are planned in Germany by 2016, all featuring hi-tech elements such as external information touchscreens and tablet computers, as well as lounge-style seating.

Air Berlin will expand its Caribbean flight programme in winter 2015/16 with a total of 30 weekly flights to the region and Florida. There will be a second weekly flight from Düsseldorf to Curaçao. Air Berlin is the only German airline serving the island.

Urlaubstours, the in-house tour operator of leading online travel retailer Unister Travel, has opened up its winter 2015/16 programme for bookings. The tour operator is offering 4,400 hotels, with more properties in Portugal and Italy, as well as long-haul destinations such as the Caribbean, Mauritius, Thailand and Sri Lanka.