31.03.2017 10:40
Picture of Baumgartner, Afukatudis, Widmann.

Photo: Graz airport. from left Mag. Lorenz Baumgartner, Director Yield Product Thomas Cook Austria AG, Dipl.-Kfm.- Ioannis Afukatudis, Chairman of the Executive Board, Thomas Cook Austria AG and Mag. Gerhard Widmann, Managing Director of Graz airport.

The travel trends for summer 2017

The top destinations for summer 2017: Greece, Spain and Bulgaria as well as Italy and Croatia. Development of the 24h guarantee and the Flexoption as well as Cook&Book for even more individualism.

Graz, 20th March 2017 — The main booking phase for summer is well underway. The first trends for the summer season 2017 are already being indicated to Thomas Cook organisers: In the short and medium-haul travel sector, Greece has taken top place as the most popular summer destination, closely followed by the Balearic Islands, the car journey classics Italy, Croatia and Bulgaria. The demand for long-distance travel is also developing positively. With regard to the summer long-distance destinations, the USA currently head the list, followed by the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Mexico.

At Graz airport, we have been preparing ourselves for the summer for weeks now - in particular as the summer flight schedule is to be put into action this coming Sunday. Included are flights to all points of the compass, with over 50 destinations. New scheduled flights go to Birmingham and Amsterdam; in the holiday flight chain sector, aircraft now fly to the Cycladic Island of Paros and to Marsa Alam on the Red Sea, and special flights have been scheduled to Reykjavik and Menorca. "We are delighted that we are able to offer such a wide-ranging program in spite of an in-part difficult 2016", explains Mag. Gerhard Widmann, Managing Director of Graz airport. "Our long-term partners such as Thomas Cook /Neckermann have made this possible, as they consistently keep the pot boiling and are constantly attempting to provide the best possible offers for our mutual flight guests".

This year, the range of flights available from Graz once again go to Austrians' most popular holiday destinations. "We are delighted that, in spite of the past turbulent weeks on the Austrian aviation market, we can also offer a comprehensive and diverse range of flights", says Ioannis Afukatudis, Chairman of the Executive Board, Thomas Cook Austria.

Majorca topped the list of the most popular travel destinations last year, but this year it had to take second place behind Greece. "Greece can offer something for all target groups, from relaxed holidays for couples right up to adventurous family holidays. For this reason, Greece is one of the most important destinations for this summer", says Ioannis Afukatudis. In Greece this summer, Thomas Cook will be offering, in addition to the existing wide range of 34 new hotels on eight islands and the Greek mainland, a new Casa Cook on the island of Kos opening in July. And this year, too, there will  be a new issue of the popular catalogue "The diversity of Greece" to 14 smaller Greek destinations such as Thassos, Karpathos, Samos or Lesbos.

"In a comparison of the countries, Spain is, seen overall, still the most popular holiday destination for the coming summer", says Ioannis Afukatudis. "Above all Majorca is one of the top travel destinations once again". Although the Balearic Islands are already quite booked up, attractive offers are still available, also during the holiday periods. The Canary Islands and the Spanish mainland have also recorded highly positive booking figures.

In addition to the aviation travel destinations, the classic car journey destinations have also indicated positive development. "Italy will also be well booked-up this year again, and continues to be a popular destination for car journeys. Yet flights to Italy are also in increasing demand amongst our guests", says Ioannis Afukatudis. "Especially on Sicily, beach and cultural holidays can be wonderfully combined, for example in our new hotel Sentido Acacia Marina to the south of the island". An additional Thursday flight from Vienna to Catania with Austrian Airlines  supplements the schedule for the south Italian island, to which flights go several times per week. In addition to Italy, Croatia is also the top car journey destination with excellent booking developments.

Bulgaria has really boomed in summer 2017, and has become an attractive destination above all for budget-orientated families. Neckermann Reisen offers 17 exclusive hotels, amongst these two new establishments managed under the Thomas Cook-owned hotel brand Sentido. Also noteworthy are the current good developments for Turkey. "After a difficult start, we have determined an increase in demand again for this summer. We hope that this development continues", says Ioannis Afukatudis.

Customer orientation continues to be the highest priority regarding Neckermann and Thomas Cook products. Therefore, two particularly popular products from the last season are to be further developed in the coming summer: the 24h satisfaction guarantee is to be rolled out at further hotels, and also the Flexoption, which permits travellers to change their travel plans at short notice without stating their reasons, is to be made more widely available. Thomas Cook has also catered for the trend towards the individualisation of holiday experiences. "With our new booking platform Cook&Book, it will in future be even easier to serve individual customer requirements with additional services", says Ioannis Afukatudis regarding these developments.

The target group-specific expectations of the customers are also decisive when making holiday decisions. "With our hotel concepts and the integrated product differentiation, we are able to cater for different requirements and thus to ensure that our guests find a holiday to suit them", says Ioannis Afukatudis. For families, for example, current offers by Neckermann Reisen include their own hotel brands Sunwing and SunConnect. These hotels cater especially for the requirements of families through a comprehensive child supervision program and generously-sized family rooms and apartments.

Thomas Cook Signature, on the other hand, offers a high standard of comfort with high-quality hotels and integrated added value services such as seat reservations included for arrival and departure and the Flexoption. "Because we as travel organisers keep our promises, 80 percent of our short and long-haul flight guests will be spending their holiday this summer in a hotel featuring the 24-hour satisfaction guarantee", adds Afukatudis.


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Petra WittmannMartina Frühbeiss
Primus Communications GmbH      Thomas Cook Austria AG
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