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German travel agents enjoy strong sales growth

Photo: “Village Travel Agent, Frankfurt-Praunheim” © Dr. Patrick Patridge

Travel agents in Germany generated solid growth of 4.6 % in 2017, but are losing market share to fast-growing Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and tour operator websites, according to a recently published fvw dossier. German travel agents increased their combined sales by 4.6 % to € 26.4 billion last year – based on company figures and calculations by the German Travel Industry Association (DRV). This compensated for a 2.4 % decline in 2016 and took revenues above 2015 levels. 

Tourism sales increased by 5 % to € 14.8 billion, which did not fully compensate for a 5.6 % slump in 2016. Flight sales grew by 4.1 % to € 8.4 billion, building on a 2 % increase in 2016, while rail ticket sales declined slightly to less than € 600 million. Other revenues increased by 5.3 % to over € 2.5 billion. The number of full-time and part-time travel agencies dropped by 306 to 11,116.

For RDA members it is interesting to note that many German coach companies own travel agencies in their locality – in small towns and in rural areas in particular. Other travel agencies in larger urban centres often have group departments and / or a strong affiliation with a local coach operator. The latter are of special interest to RDA Group Travel Expo exhibitors as they form a significant target trade visitor segment.

Although the 4.6 % sales growth appears good, two factors need to be taken into account. The German tour operator market, which accounts for a large proportion of travel agency sales, grew by a higher 8 % to € 33.7 billion last year. Moreover, Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and tour operator websites increased revenues by as much as 14 %. Traditional travel agencies are thus continuing to lose market share in a growing market.

Looser cooperation networks grew more strongly than centrally managed chains and franchise organisations last year. The cooperation groups increased sales revenues by 5.1 % to € 12.1 billion while chains and franchises grew by 3.5 % to € 12.5 billion. These organisations accounted for a combined 93 % of total travel agency sales.

Further information: and


Annette Heinemann
Phone: +49 2244 90 33 33
Facsimile: +49 2244 87 74 22

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