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German youth travel specialists expand in a growing market segment

Youth travel is a growing market segment for many specialist German tour operators who are expanding their offers to win new customers. It is a future-oriented and changing market which RDA members – coach tour operators, cultural attractions, sporting amenities, DMOs and incoming agencies in particular should direct some of their energies and attention to. About 6.9 million Germans are aged between 12 and 20 years, making young people a large and increasingly attractive market segment for the travel industry. According to Reisenetz ( – an association of youth travel companies that co-operates among others with BETA – the British Educational Travel Association ( – young people up to 26 years undertake about 60 million trips (of several days) per annum, including 12.6 million school trips.

German tour operators – mostly small specialists – report rising sales and are broadening their range of offers to win new business, especially group trips which have traditionally been organised directly by schools, clubs or associations.  RDA and VPR member, Alpetour, is a leading German youth travel wholesaler with a turnover of €81 million and more than 300,000 customers in 2016. Most packages for school trips are based on coach or train travel to European destinations, although there is indeed an increase in flight bookings. Programmes are often drawn up in close co-operation with teachers so as to integrate educational activities into the trip.

Tour operator specialists focusing on older teenagers are also expanding their programmes. One leading company recently made headlines by offering cruise holidays for young people aged 16 or above. The cruises, from 2018 onwards, include trips in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean and on the Danube. Others feature camping trips and trips for choirs and music groups, for example, or offer trips for teenagers who are celebrating finishing their final ‘Abitur’ secondary school exams.


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

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