HOW TO MAKE EUROPEANS (GERMANS) FEEL AT HOME IN FOREIGN LANDS

What does it take to satisfy the demands of Europe’s N°1 outbound market?
Gebeco represents the brands “Gebeco Länder erleben” and “Dr. Tigges”, and is one of the leading tour operators for study and group travel programmes in the German speaking market. We asked Heiko Blatter – Area Manager Southwest Europe/ Middle East & North Africa how he thinks receptive TOs and hoteliers might best welcome his nation’s travellers…

During our travel programmes, our German guests don’t spend a lot of time in hotels. Nevertheless, our German guests have a few demands. For example, German travellers attach importance to cleanliness. Our travel programs are led by German-speaking tour guides. Furthermore, German or at least English speaking hotel staff is desirable for the German guest. Food should vary: Our guests love to travel, especially in order to immerse themselves into foreign cultures. Thus, the hotel should offer local food besides international meals.

THE DESIRE FOR SAFETY IS REFLECTED IN A HIGH DIMENSION IN THE CURRENT BOOKING SITUATION

What are you seeing as being the key trends in terms of destinations?
Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, Vietnam and Japan are considered as some of the key destinations for guests of study and group travel programmes in 2016. Currently, the booking positions demonstrate that German travellers are looking forward to visiting far away destinations. In addition to the destinations I just mentioned, South Africa and Brazil are seeing a considerable increase in demand.
Regarding European travel destinations, Gebeco expects a considerable increase in passengers for Spain, Portugal and Italy. Also the Northern countries such as Iceland or the Baltic States, as well as Poland, are considered as upcoming destinations, where a stable growth is expected. All these destinations are regarded to be safe. The desire for safety is reflected in a high dimension in the current booking situation. A good touristic infrastructure, a high quality in hotel standards, excellent transport network and good value for money are further important points for German travellers.