10 May 2010 | Tourism | Issue 232
Just the place to do business
‘Making new business contacts’ and ‘exploring new ideas’ are primary reasons given for visiting the RDA Workshop - the leading international trade-only sales and purchasing fair for the coach and group tourism industry. This year’s exhibition, which runs from 27 to 29 July 2010 in Cologne, is where the international coach and group tourism industry gets together for three days of business dealings and industry networking. More than 90 new exhibitors have already signed-up for this year’s show.
The RDA-Workshop’s range and potential for innovative international coach holiday travel is greater than ever before, according to the organisers. There is nowhere else where UK coach tourism companies, tourism regions and coach holiday suppliers can meet so many potential coach tourism buyers and suppliers under one roof (more 55,000 sq m).
A grand total of 1,300 exhibitors range from international package tour wholesalers, coach holiday companies, accommodation providers, sea carriers, theme parks, tourism marketing organisations, visitor attractions, gastronomy providers and coach manufacturers to individual and family-run hotels.
“The RDA-Workshop offers a huge array of business con-tacts and B2B networking for British partners,” says Karin Kohls, managing director, RDA-Workshop, “Cooperative ventures are entered into and solidified, bookings are made, trends are accessed and inno-vations adopted. For coach holiday companies, group tourism operators and service suppliers the RDA-Workshop is an ab-solute must.”
The 2010 RDA-Workshop’s key theme is Cycling and Trekking, something that the organisers say has considerable group appeal. Cycle tourism has been booming in recent years and has developed into an important tourism growth segment. Cycle outings and holidays achieve gross sales of almost
€3.87billion in Germany alone, according to research conducted by the German Tourism Federation. Around 22 million overnight stops are generated by cycle tourists. An increasing number of coach and group tour operators are positioning themselves with offers that appeal to a broad target-group – from guests seeking simple relaxation, to sightseeing and fully-fledged cycling enthusiasts.
The RDA Workshop 2010 visitors website will go online in June 2010. This helps visitors plan their RDA Workshop well in advance. Trade visitors can register free-of-charge, print out a visitor badge, explore exhibitor profiles, browse offers, make appointments and print out hall plans and meeting schedules. An International Fair Pack is also available upon request.
The German coach tourism market has, despite the current economic climate, remained very stable. The latest research indicates that 49 million Germans over 14 years of age took 64.8 million holidays of five days and more duration in 2009 (FUR Travel Analysis 2009). The high value of holidays in Germans’ consumer priorities is evident in their desire and willingness to travel.
Coach tourism managed to hold its own in a challenging holiday market with 8.6 per cent of all holidays of five days and more in 2009 (9.3 per cent of domestic holidays and 8.2 per cent of holidays taken abroad). Market research forecasts excellent potential for the German coach tourism sector, with an overall market of some 120 million holidays and trips per annum. Germany’s 4,900 mainly family-owned coach companies employ 79,000 full-time employees and operate some 20,000 holiday coaches.
Travel industry analysts forecast around five million potential new coach holiday customers and a market share of 12-13 per cent in the decade to come. Growth is expected in river cruises, study-based and all-inclusive tours – especially in the short-break, city, culture, seniors and events segments. This is relevant to UK coach holiday operators, tourism regions and service suppliers since more than 70 per cent of German coach holidaymakers travel abroad to destinations, with Great Britain being a popular niche market.
VisitBritain’s statistics indicate that around 1,022 million German holidaymakers visited Great Britain in 2008. Some 200,000 of these were coach holidaymakers – flight groups not included. And 22 per cent of coach holidaymakers were on a short holiday break of one to three days.
Holiday visits from Germany were reckoned to be up 20 per cent in 2009 and first reports from advance bookings in 2010 show that German coach holiday business has increased once again.
Demand for coach holidays to Great Britain has not only been increasing over the past two years but that interest is also steady for 2011 /2012 – the London Olympics and Diamond Jubilee Year. Enquiries and bookings are displaying a trend to allow guests more time for themselves and for optional day trips; a move away from tight travel programmes in favour of relaxation with strong demand for culture, history, scenery, special events and active programmes.
The majority of German coach groups book three- to four-star hotel accommodation. Between 75 and 85 per cent travel via ferry but the number of flight groups from this sector is on the rise, especially in the higher-priced categories of either study tours or escorted sightseeing.
Their main activity when in Great Britain is visits to places of cultural and historical interest, the most popular being visits to London, historic houses and castles. Over half visit museums, art galleries and gardens. Extra days are being increasingly used for cycling outings, walking tours or simply for shopping, rest and relaxation and observing how daily British life goes by.
RDA Workshop visitors (11,000 in 2009) are primarily coach holiday operators (46 per cent), tour operators (33 per cent) and travel agents (3 per cent) – all with high purchasing potential (81 per cent). The primary focus of buyers in 2009 was placing orders for summer 2010 (77 per cent). The RDA Workshop’s lead position was reinforced by its 2009 visitor survey: 93 per cent judged the information on offer as ‘very good’ or ‘good’, 91 per cent planned to visit the RDA Workshop once again to maintain existing contacts, to gain an overview of the market and to search for new products and offers.
The RDA - International Coach Tourism Federation – based in Cologne, Germany, is Europe’s largest umbrella organisation for the coach tourism industry. It currently boasts a membership of 3,000 companies from 40 countries and provides a forum for business-to-business networking, market research, legal and fiscal advisory services, further training and political lobbying at both national and European Union levels.
Tuesday 27 to Thursday 29 July 2010
27 & 28 July – 09:30 am to 18:00 pm
29th July – 09:30 am to 16:00 pm
Cologne Fair, Halls 10.1 and 10.2
RDA Workshop Touristik-Service GmbH, Hohenstaufenring 47-51, DE-506 Cologne.