Many people are already planning their summer vacation in 2018. And the major tour operators have sent their catalogs to the travel agencies for the next season and have released their hotels in the databases for booking. Where is the journey going? And what are the big trends in package holidays? An overview:

Greece will be the trend destination of the summer

That Spain with the all-time classic Mallorca is undisputedly number one among the most popular sun destinations, will not change in 2018. But in second place is quite a surprise possible: Greece could overtake the flagging Turkey. Around 3.5 million German guests should count Hellas this year, experts from the travel industry. Next year, maybe more Germans will spend their holidays there. Nearly four million German visitors traveled to Turkey in 2016, and the numbers continued to decline this year. What follows in 2018 is open.

For example, at Alltours, Greece rose to its second largest destination in Spain in 2017, with a booking increase of 30 percent. The hotel selection has now been expanded by the organizer, 40 more houses can be booked through the company in Crete alone.

The other organizers offer the guests in Greece more choice, partly with exclusive houses. Thomas Cook and Neckermann have 22 new hotels in Crete in their program. A new weekly Condor flight will now also head for Sitia in the east of the island. At ITS, for example, the islands of Thassos and Zakynthos are now on offer. “Greece will probably set another record year,” estimates René Herzog, CEO for Central Europe at DER Touristik.

Sun-hungry holidaymakers are likely to head for Italy, Croatia and Bulgaria in the summer of 2018. In these countries, the organizers have also increased their hotel offer partly significantly to meet the demand.

Turkey remains a wobbly candidate

The politically heated relationship between Germany and Turkey has kept many Germans from vacationing in Antalya and the other seaside resorts. Currently, the tones between Berlin and Ankara are reconciliatory again.Whether this will lead to a comeback of tourism, however, is completely open.

Many organizers practice in optimistic optimism: Tui expects “growth” in Turkey, so at least a small recovery from the current slump. Other providers are more reluctant: “For three years, the tour operators make forecasts for Turkey, which have always been found to be wrong,” says Herzog. “I do not dare forecast anymore, but I hope the demand will recover.” Alltours merely stated that they wanted to keep the supply in the country stable despite further declining numbers of guests.

In contrast, the organizer FTI relies fully on Turkey in the summer – and there on the Aegean. New are nonstop charter flights to Bodrum from 16 German cities. The Munich turn against the trend: The number of Turkey guests at the provider in 2017 had grown again pleasing, about 800,000 FTI holidaymakers it should have been the end of 2017. The goal for 2018: one million guests. Apparently, it paid off for FTI to have remained loyal to the country.

Egypt is coming back – Tunisia a bit

FTI boss Ralph Schiller speaks with regard to Egypt of an “unprecedented comeback” in the coming winter. This trend will probably continue in the summer of 2018. In the country at the Red Sea good prices and an often high-quality all-inclusive infrastructure, which is particularly important for families. Egypt could be an alternative to Turkey for some tourists in summer. And what about Tunisia? The organizers are also expecting more German guests in the North African country. An increasing number of flights to the beach resorts make traveling easier again.

Price increases in trend targets are moderate

The sunny destinations Spain, Greece and Italy are booming – price increases are not enough. But they are rather gentle. On average 3.2 percent of all goals speaks Alltours. Thomas Cook and Neckermann each take four percent more for package holidays to Spain and Greece, three percent for Italy and Austria, two percent for Germany and Croatia. “Given the strong demand, for example for Greece, we would have expected the price increases to be even greater,” said Stefanie Berk, CEO of Thomas Cook Tourism.

By contrast, Tui sees little change – on average, mind you. DER Touristik also speaks of “stable prices”. FTI announced moderate premiums for Greece, but in Spain it was in the double-digit percentage range. Mallorca will be expensive again in 2018 – and with all the organizers. Turkey and Egypt, on the other hand, remain cheap.

Focus on families

One would think that families would be the classic target group of the big package travel providers anyway – but apparently not enough. Both Tui and Thomas Cook give this target group special consideration for the summer.Example: At Neckermann, families traveling with a child under the age of 15 and the Condor holiday charter can reserve the seats in advance free of charge and receive a free snack and drinks on board. This applies to all destinations around the Mediterranean. A family of four should save up to 120 euros in this way. Why this generosity? A family who spends 4,000 euros for a summer holiday, it was simply not to convey that a bottle of water in the plane suddenly cost money – said the organizer.

The Neckermann catalog “Family Holidays” has also been redesigned. For example, parents should be able to recognize more quickly what new scope of care is provided by new labeling. A similar path goes Tui: The Hanoverians have introduced a yellow, round quality seal for family hotels. It is awarded to accommodations that achieve particularly high levels of satisfaction and stand out for their child friendliness.

New technology for younger vacationers

Tui is more interested in the target group of millenials. According to Tui Germany boss Marek Andryszak book younger vacationers especially short breaks and the Internet. At Tui it is exactly the other way around, and that’s what you want to change – with new technology and a pilot project: Anyone who is within 500 meters of a Tui travel agency and has installed the Tui app, now gets messages to the smartphone. This should encourage the visit to the travel agency. The Tui website also introduces a shopping cart where users can put together travel services in just a few clicks. Amazon sends my regards!

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