Major specialist tour operator for Turkey Bentour Reisen is expanding to new Mediterranean destinations such as Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Portugal in 2016, to diversify its portfolio and reduce dependence on its main market.
The Swiss-based group which is family-owned and active on the German, Swiss and Austrian outbound markets, has now scheduled trips and contracted capacity in hotels on the Greek (Crete), Balearic and Canary Islands as well as the Spanish mainland, Madeira and Cyprus.
In cooperation with Sun Express, Bentour announced that will operate scheduled flights from Koln, Bonn, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hannover, Leipsig, Munich, Nurnberg and Paderborn.
1,000 hotels’ offer
It wants to offer about 1,000 hotels in these new Mediterranean destinations without producing a separate brochure promoting these new destinations. Instead, offers will be made available to travel agents through the major reservation systems. The company is collaborating with Majorca-based incoming agency MTS, and has secured flight capacity with TUIfly, SunExpress, Air Berlin, Easyjet and Vueling.
Bentour had some 110,000 customers and generated revenues of €95 million in 2013/14 and already plans to expand its Turkey portfolio by about 20%.
The idea of expansion originated from Bentour’s CEO, Ugur Deniz who, in the spring of 2014, sailed for two months from Germany in Marmaris, did personal fieldwork in six countries and concluded that these destinations have the same understanding and appreciation of tourist services as Turkey.
Nevertheless, he denied that the expansion was a move away from its core destination: “Turkey business is admittedly slightly difficult at the moment but still has plenty of substance. Even with a slight decline, the absolute figures are still enormous,” Deniz declared and added: “But we don’t know for sure whether there will always record years again in the future. That’s why we are moving to a double strategy.”
He clarified that the ratio between these destinations and Turkey will be about 70:30 and he projected: “If times get unsettled, then it would be a good performance if we can only hold revenues stable. We will take the first step and then look at everything calmly. But if it goes to plan, then I can certainly imagine a further expansion. It could even extend to long-haul holidays.”