German travel agents 'only happy when it rains'
Good weather for ducks - and travel agents. Germany's rainy summer has turned into a windfall for operators offering package holidays in the Mediterranean, it was reported Friday.
In a survey carried out by news agency DAPD, all of Germany's major travel agents are reporting increased bookings in the past few days. Alltours, TUI, and Thomas Cook say they have had to charter extra flights to meet the demand.
"People are sick of the bad weather," said Stefan Suska of Alltours, which estimates that the bad weather has boosted summer business by 10 percent. "There are enough hotel beds - the bottle neck is the flights."
German market leader TUI has a similar tale to tell. "If the summer weather is as bad as it has been this year, then you can set your watch to when the bookings come," said manager Mario Köpers. The company says its luxury subsidiaries Robinson and Sensimar are doing particularly well.
Because TUI also runs its own airline - TUIfly - it has been better able to react to increased demand.
Thomas Cook has also booked additional flights to Tunisia and Majorca. And there is even good news for Greece - almost all travel agents are reporting more bookings to the crisis-stricken eurozone country, because so many holidays are still available.
But the bad news is that all the best holiday offers have now gone. "If you want to fly now, you better get a move on," said Christian Weßels of Rewe-Touristik.
Last minute bargains are also few and far between. "Because of the good demand, we hardly have any last-minute offers," said Köpers.
But maybe someone should have informed the Chinese Olympics team of Germany's damp climatic conditions. England's miserable summer weather prompted Chinese athletics star Liu Xiang to leave London and complete his pre-Olympics training in Germany, the China Daily reported on Tuesday.
Coach Sun Haiping said hurdler Liu, who won a gold medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004 but had to pull out of the Beijing Games, was among a number of athletes who had left London because of the wet weather in the British capital.