Egypt, Tunisia tourism recovering fast: German travel association

Reuters, Friday 4 Mar 2011

Unrest will only have short-term effect, says DRV president

Egyptian, Tunisian Tourism Recovery

Tourists are returning quickly to Egypt and Tunisia after the uprising there, according to the German travel association DRV.

The two countries are a popular destination for Germans, who spent more than any other nation on holidays abroad in 2010, said the DRV.

Juergen Buechy, president of the DRV said the unrest would have a short-term effect on travel there, but that bookings were already significantly improving.

"I am certain Egypt and Tunisia will recover quickly and reclaim their place on the tourism map," he told journalists on Friday.

"Many Germans have sympathy with the peaceful uprisings," he added.

Sales at German tour operators increased by 2.5 per cent to 21.3 billion euros last year. Buechy said the industry should return to or even exceed the pre-crisis levels of 2008 this year.

Buechy added some months had even shown double-digit increases in bookings for this year compared with last year.

The largest tour operators in Germany include TUI Travel, Thomas Cook and unlisted Rewe.

Buechy said the current spike in the oil price was not having an effect at the moment, especially as many summer bookings had already been made.

While sales at German tour operators rose 2.5 per cent last year, the numbers of holidaymakers actually increased by 5 per cent. This discrepancy reflects that tour operators lowered prices in 2008 to attract customers, Buechy said.

Buechy told Reuters Insider Germans were definitely spending more on holidays this year and the consumer mood was good.

"They're booking earlier. It's definitely not a 'last-minute' year," he said.

German retail sales came in much stronger than expected in January, showing traditionally conservative consumers are contributing to an economic recovery that shows little sign of faltering.

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