German bookings coming up short
About 15 percent of the seats on planned weekly charter flights from Berlin to Melbourne International Airport are booked, according to the head of a German tourism company organizing the flights. The flights will run from Nov. 3 through April 27.
While preferring to be having bookings in the 25 percent range, Andreas Wieczorke, chief executive officer of M-Touristik, a Rostock, Germany-based tour company, said the lower figure isn't bad, considering marketing efforts started later than expected.
Wieczorke also said round-trip fares from Melbourne to Berlin would start in the $700 range. But M-Touristik is more interested in booking German travel packages that include airfare, hotel, meals and amenities.
At least part of the delay occurred as local officials worked out an arrangement with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to process the incoming travelers at Melbourne International. The success of the current schedule of Berlin-to-Melbourne charter flights will determine if the operation has a future, Wieczorke said.
On Thursday, Wieczorke wrapped up two days of meeting with local travel agents, public officials and business owners to drum up support for the Berlin-to-Melbourne flights. The German consulate from Miami, Klaus H. D. Ranner, drove to Melbourne to attend a Thursday night reception local officials threw at the Melbourne International Airport for M-Touristik.