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FTI invests on Gambia as holiday destination


German tourism group FTI is investing in Gambia as a new package holiday destination this winter, further expanding its Egypt programme, and adding more flights to medium-haul destinations.

Germany’s fourth-largest tour operator is having a strong summer season with double-digit growth in customer numbers and revenues.

Like most major tour operators, FTI has strong sales for both Turkey and Egypt this summer. Sales & marketing chief Ralph Schiller expects a 30% increase for Turkey and between 50% and 60% for Egypt by the end of this year, giving the group about one million customers in each destination.

Other destinations with high growth rates include Morocco, Malta, Montenegro, Dubai, Greece and Cyprus.

The Munich-based tour operator, which has a track record of trying to develop lesser-known niche destinations, unveiled Gambia, where it is investing in hotels and a hotel training school, as a highlight of its programme for winter 2017/18.

FTI will offer full-charter direct flights from Cologne-Bonn, Frankfurt, Munich and Leipzig to the capital Banjul from Mondays to Thursdays.

In addition, it has invested in two hotels, the Kairaba Beach and the Labranda Coral Beach, both about 30 minutes from Banjul airport.

CEO Dietmar Gunz praised the small West African country’s advantages and tourism potential. “There is no time difference. It’s close, inexpensive, a beer doesn’t even cost one euro and you get the best fish,” he declared. Gambia is “rich in cultural and natural attractions”, and “a destination for real fans and we can do good locally”, he added.

Other top destinations for FTI this winter will include Egypt, Morocco, Cyprus, the Orient and the Caribbean. Prices will remain stable, according to the tour operator.

For Egypt, FTI will offer so-called ‘after work’ overnight flights from Germany enabling holidaymakers to arrive in the destination early in the morning, thus saving one night’s accommodation costs. In total, FTI will offer 155 flight connections to Egypt from 25 airports, including several full charters with Lufthansa. In addition, FTI is financing expansion of El Gouna airport and will offer new daily flights between the Red Sea resort and Luxor (and also Cairo) that will enable Red Sea holidaymakers to add a Nile cruise more flexibly than in the past.

Elsewhere, FTI will offer daily flights to Agadir to profit from strong demand for Morocco, where it sees itself as market leader, and increase flights to Cyprus and Oman (via Dubai) this winter.

The group also plans to continue expanding its portfolio of more than 60 own hotels, now operating under the MP Hotels label. Labranda will remain the main brand, with two openings on Cuba for this winter, complemented by several new brands targeted at specific customer segments, such as Kairaba (five-star), Clubs Plus, Design Plus and Lemon & Soul (budget).

Source: FVW Medien GmbH, a leading German trade magazine for tourism and business travel


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