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Business

German travel firms look back at bumper business season

A record number of bookings washed higher profits into the coffers of German tour operators in the past season. As Germans travelled like never before, foreign destinations benefited most from the tourism boom.

German tour operators posted record revenues of 24.2 billion euros ($30.8 billion) in the past year, which was 4.5 percent more than in the previous year, according to latest data released by the German Travel Association (DRV) Thursday. The tourism industry measures its figures through the end of October.

Earnings were boosted by a record number of 40 million bookings, DRV President Jürgen Büchy told the annual meeting of the industry lobby group, currently held in Budva, Montenegro.

"The result shows that the travel industry remains a highly dynamic growth market despite the current crisis," Büchy added.

DRV data showed that foreign destinations were the winners in the last holiday season, as Germans shunned the bad summer weather at home, causing domestic bookings to stagnate.

As in previous years, Spain was the most favorite destination for Germans to travel to, followed by Italy and Turkey. Tunisia posted significant gains after slumping in the previous season due to the Arab Spring popular uprisings in early 2011. Crisis-stricken Greece received significantly less German tourists, and saw years of booming tourism with double-digit annual growth coming to an end.

DRV also said that cruises recording the highest growth last season among the various tourism sectors. This was only briefly dented in the wake of the "Costa Concordia" accident which saw the cruise ship run aground off the coast of Italy in January 2012.

uhe/msh (dapd, dpa)