Organising 45,000 leisure tours every year, leading destinations in terms of the number of room nights booked so far this year are Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland and Spain with the United Kingdom sitting just outside the top five. All five key Nordic destinations – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – are already seeing room nights exceed 2012 this year, with Norway and Iceland enjoying their third consecutive year of growth. It suggests that the Northern Lights continue to be a popular draw.
The Irish Republic has also seen steady year-on-year growth since 2010, while the UK has quickly recovered its position, growing 12% so far in 2013 after a drop in demand last year due to the Olympic Games in London.
David Painter, Chief Executive Officer of Kuoni Group Travel Experts, says: “The value of group tours is often overlooked in the travel industry, but it plays a vital role in its sustainable success. Kuoni Group Travel Experts serves the needs of large numbers of newer travellers, particularly from nations with massive populations – such as China or Japan – which are also enjoying economic growth, infrastructure improvements and increasingly affluent citizens who are looking to explore long haul destinations for the first time.
“Group travel also serves another trend at the opposite end of the spectrum. In more mature source markets – such as the USA – we are seeing more people travel together to enjoy a shared interest, such as film tourism, food and drink, hiking or sport. Kuoni Group Travel Experts also serves the growing US cruise market by providing day excursions and sightseeing in popular ports around the world.”
The greatest proportion of group travellers comes from Asian nations, whose citizens are often just beginning to explore longer haul destinations. Group travel gives them the reassurance and security of native language tour guides, pre-planned meals and rooming in hotels that are best able to meet their needs and itineraries that ensure they enjoy the attractions and experiences they want. Leading source markets for Kuoni Group Travel Experts are China, Japan, Indonesia and Taiwan. Conversely, a significant amount of business also comes out of the USA, but this is led more by a trend for niche travel for a particular interest such as food and drink, art or sport.
Although a smaller proportion choose group travel compared to Asian markets, room nights booked by the Belgian and Canadian trade have more than doubled so far this year. Group travel from the Ukraine has also doubled this year; its third consecutive year of growth.
Whether customising a trip for ten or more family members or planning a city break for dozens of people, Kuoni Group Travel Experts makes it easy to put together the best programme possible, at the best price possible. The company offers ‘specially selected’ itineraries that will never go out of fashion and works with selected hotels, attractions and service suppliers in these locations – using our reputation and the number of such tours we sell – to secure the most competitive prices whatever the time of year and get the best access possible for visitors. For those unusual and special requests for far flung destinations or ad-hoc tours off the beaten track, ‘concierge created’ itineraries are a more bespoke, custom-designed option to meet more unique client preferences.