Asia’s safe image means higher bookings

European operators say Asia will do well this year
German tour operators say that Asia will do well this year, citing its safe image overall as one of the reasons, TTG Asia reports from ITB Berlin.
Safety has become a major influencing factor in German consumers’ travel decision-making after recent terror attacks, ongoing conflicts and the refugee crisis that are affecting destinations such as Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia and Greece.
“These are difficult days and it’s a huge problem to sell the African part of the Mediterranean”, said Matthias Rotter, DER Touristik Frankfurt managing director. “Fortunately DERTOUR and Meier’s have a big portfolio of destinations and we’re able to compensate for a loss in one with a gain in another.”
Rotter expects long-haul business to remain steady with a slight increase to Asia and a larger one to South Africa due to pent-up demand after the Ebola crisis a few years ago. In Asia, Sri Lanka is doing “extremely well” for DER, as is Japan. Thailand and the Philippines are at the same level as last year.
“Sri Lanka contracts in euro, whereas the Thai baht’s link to the US dollar has caused a 15% increase in rates due to the strengthening of the US dollar against the euro,” Rotter pointed out. But he said suppliers in Thailand had been cooperative in not raising rates.
Marco Polo Reisen managing director Holger Baldus agreed there were no major price increases in traditional destinations like Thailand, but what was more attractive to Germans was not pricing but that Asia was seen as safe. “The red and yellow shirts, Erawan bombing, etc., are all but forgotten now. People are travelling to where they feel it is safe. Price comes second.”
The real star is Japan, he said, where Marco Polo Reisen bookings rose 73% last year.
“We expect a bit more growth this year, after last year’s substantial one. That’s more than 1,000 guests to Japan. For its high prices that’s a lot of guests. Again, it’s not about pricing. Japan is seen as safe,” Baldus said.
TTG Asia