IT MAY be early days yet but European operators expect steady demand for Asia this year, on the back of tacticals and interest in emerging destinations.
Germany’s green tax and growing fuel surcharges have not deterred its citizens from heading east, particularly to Thailand and Indochina, say tour operators.
Sri Siam Holidays sales manager Germany, Eberhard Zimmer, saw a three per cent hike in demand for Thailand and Indochina this winter season. But many clients are downgrading hotel class and flying EVA Air from Vienna and Amsterdam to Bangkok to keep costs low.
Sevgi Reisen grew its business to Thailand and Vietnam by 10 per cent last year, said managing director Klaus Pankalla. “People are crying over the taxes but they’re still paying to go to these destinations because ground prices are still value for money and shopping is good.”
Scandinavian demand for Bali skyrocketed last year, said Norway-based Noble Tours sales manager John Oddvar Stromseng, who attributed this to word-of-mouth from Bali-based Scandinavians, high hotel standards and reasonable rates for packages.
For Denmark-based FDM Travel, it was FIT demand for Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam that ballooned last year. Product manager Jens Lossow said: “We don’t expect demand to fall despite the rising fuel surcharges as these are offset by airline tactical promotions.”
- Full story in TTG Asia March 11