News in brief

Strong long-haul bookings

Exotic destinations remain in demand on the German market.

TUI’s cultural holiday brand Gebeco is seeing strong demand for many long-haul destinations this year. The specialist tour operator said it has record bookings for southern Africa and strong growth for Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, Spain, Portugal and Japan.

The surge in demand for southern Africa is “remarkable considering that tourism collapsed there in 2014 due to the fears about Ebola,” commented managing director Ury Steinweg. In contrast, the growth for Cuba, Iran and Myanmar is a result from their political reforms and opening up in the last few years. The main challenges in those countries remains to secure sufficient capacity, according to Steinweg. With some 60,000 customers a year, Gebeco generates revenues of €116 million.

JT Touristik has opened up its winter 2016/17 programme for bookings and has expanded its city trips programme. The Berlin-based dynamic packaging company is offering some 5,500 hotels, including expansion to 1,190 hotels in Spain. The city trips programme has increased to nearly 2,500 hotels.

Eurowings is expanding its flights from Vienna in its forthcoming winter schedule. The Lufthansa budget carrier will fly from the Austrian capital to 16 destinations, including Palma and the Canary Islands. There are also more services from several German airports to winter sun destinations in southern Europe.

Private rail company Euro Express Sonderzüge (‘special trains’) will expand services from Düsseldorf to Verona in northern Italy, Austria and Slovenia next year. The trains include car transportation, sleeper carriages and a restaurant. The expansion follows Deutsche Bahn’s announcement that it will terminate its financially unviable overnight train services such as CityNightLine in December.