One of Europe’s biggest tour operators, Rewe Touristik, has identified Sri Lanka as the “real star” in Asia’s boom in tourism prompting it to step up focus and investments.
Rewe Touristik, formerly LTU-Touristik, is the biggest German tour operator to the Far East and given the post-war rebound in tourism last year, set up a joint venture with Jetwing Travels extending the former’s Go Vacation brand to Sri Lanka.
“In Asia there are no surprises with Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Singapore remaining stable and Vietnam coming up strongly. But the real star is Sri Lanka which is really booming and is going to be one of key destinations soon,” Rewe Touristik Chief Michael Frese was quoted as saying in a recent issue of Travel Trade Gazette (TTG) Asia.
It was pointed out the revival of Sri Lanka was also timely for Rewe’s new set up, Go Vacation Sri Lanka, a 40:60 joint venture with Jetwing.
Rewe, which also operates DER Tour, Meier’s, Weltreisen, Jahn Reisenm, ITS and Tjareborg and Frese, says Southeast Asia is seeing over 15% rise in bookings to the region.
Globally the Rewe Chief said overall bookings are up 12% with North America enjoying 11%, 14% for Mediterranean, 20% to Africa and 7% to Australia. “No one is a loser save for Egypt and Tunisia where bookings are down 60%,” he said.
Frese remains upbeat on tourism growth though the only blip on the horizon is rising fuel costs. Political unrest in the Middle East has sent oil over $ 100 per barrel, with airlines being forced to increase fuel surcharges.
“If this continues, it will for sure have an impact on long-haul travel as flying will become expensive. If you have to spend 250 euros just on taxes clients with certain limitations will think twice. Now it is not yet a problem but if oil goes up bookings will be affected,” the Rewe Chief had told TTG on the sidelines of the recently-concluded ITB in Berlin.
Top German tour operators to move from Hemtours JV to Jetwing JV
THE Rewe Touristik joint venture with Jetwing, Go Vacation will handle tourist groups of ITS and Jahn Reisen from summer of 2012.
At present these groups are handled by Diethelm Travel Sri Lanka, part of Hem Tours. Apart from these two tour groups’ brands, Go Vacations will also handle DERtour and Meier’s. An additional 10,000 tourists are expected to generate from this arrangement.
“Rewe has been a good partner even in bad times. I am glad we can consolidate our position with them and we can prosper together now that tourism is back,” Jetwing Travels Managing Director Shiromal Cooray had said.
The DER Group, part of the German REWE Group, in October last year announced a Joint Venture with Jetwing Travels, one of the leading destination management companies in Sri Lanka.
The newly-incepted destination management company in Sri Lanka will operate as Go Vacation Sri Lanka.
The DER Group will hold a 40 per cent stake in the new Joint Venture and will be represented by Go Vacation Thailand, Bangkok.
Go Vacation Thailand is a member of the REWE group of companies and acting as a regional office for their tourism ventures in South East Asia,
REWE’s stake in Go Vacation Sri Lanka will round off its agency portfolio in Asia and also focus their tour operator activities in the destination of Sri Lanka.
With the addition of Go Vacation Sri Lanka to the existing ventures of Go Vacation Thailand and Go Vacation Indonesia the brand of Go Vacation will be present with more than 10 own offices in the popular tourist destinations of Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.