GTA has expanded its business-to-business, retail brand TravelCube across Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia, demonstrating its commitment to the future growth potential from the region.
GTA already has a strong wholesale presence in the Balkans and the launch of TravelCube will give agents and tour operators even greater access to a world-leading inventory of tens of thousands of accommodation options, tour guide and transfer services, experiences, excursions, attraction tickets, restaurants and more. The TravelCube team begins reaching out to agents throughout the region this week.
Fabio Maran, GTA’s Vice President for Sales, Europe South says: “Although still an emerging opportunity, the Balkans’ potential is rising. International travel is increasingly accessible and affordable, but while the internet is important for trip planning, few people in the Balkans pay online and travel is typically booked and paid for with a travel agent. www.TravelCube.com is trusted to deliver by the retail travel trade because of its wealth of experience, privileged relationships and on the ground expertise. Extending our network in the Balkans by adding services for retail travel agents alongside our already successful wholesale business will further support the region’s tourism economy.”
Most outbound travel from the Balkans is within Europe, likely led by the desire to visit friends and relations living and working abroad. The UK remains Croatians’ favourite destination with room night bookings up 6% already this year following a 34% increase in 2012. Fellow Balkan destinations are popular: for instance, the number of room nights booked in Slovenia by Albanian travellers has increased fourfold already this year, having trebled in 2012.
Despite mixed economic fortunes, the region’s prospects are looking up. For instance, analysts BMI expect Croatia’s private spending to recover modestly throughout the latter half of 2013 and into 2014. The country’s successful July accession to the EU should also have a positive impact on stability and consumer sentiment going forward.
The continuing growth of low cost carriers is seeing more destinations around the world increasingly accessible to travellers from the Balkans. Just last month, Pegasus Airlines launched a new route, five times a week between Tirana and Istanbul, and opening up a further 25 destinations beyond Turkey. Tirana International Airport’s chief executive believes it will become a good connection for Albanians travelling beyond Turkey including flights to Europe.
Adds Fabio: “TravelCube’s worldwide reach and decades of travel expertise means we can act quickly to secure allocations throughout the year, to negotiate attractive – and free – cancellation terms, as well as special offers, promotions and competitive rates.”