German tourism: +31% bookings for Rhodes, +25% for Heraklion, +16% for Kos in July

German travel agents saw their hopes of strong last-minute summer holiday bookings fizzle out last month despite rainy weather as weak demand for Turkey depressed overall sales, fvw reports.

Nevertheless, popular Greek destinations did much better as Heraklion grew by 25%, Rhodes was up by 31%  and Kos by 16%.

Overall, leisure travel sales by German travel agents were 5% lower in July than last year even though poor weather traditionally drives consumers into making last-minute bookings for sunny Mediterranean destinations. This left cumulated sales for the summer 2016 season 8% lower than last year, according to the monthly GfK representative survey of some 1,200 travel agencies.

Above all, there was no surge of last-minute bookings, as many tour operators and travel agents had hoped for. The proportion of holiday bookings with departures in July or August was 27.1%, which was well behind last year’s figure of 31.3%.

In terms of departure months, July closed with stable sales revenues compared to last year but August currently has a heavy decline of 18.7% in revenue terms, while September and October also have high single-digit declines compared to last year.

The main factor, according to GfK, is the slump in bookings for Turkey. This is underlined by the latest figures from reservations provider Traveltainment for German package holiday bookings to leading destination airports. Bookings to Antalya plummeted by 46% in July compared to one year earlier, following on from heavy double-digit declines in recent months. Moreover, Hurghada was down by 35%.

In contrast, eight of the ten top airport destinations showed growth last month after varying trends in the last few months.

Palma confirmed its position as the major destination airport with a 16% rise in bookings last month, Heraklion grew by 25% and Rhodes was up by 31%. There was single-digit growth for Fuerteventura, Las Palmas and Tenerife South, and double-digit growth for Varna (+17%) and Kos (+16%).


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