FRANKFURT, March 2 (Reuters) - Germans, the world's largest spenders on fo
reign holidays, are being more cautious with cruise bookings after the Costa Concordia disaster, German travel association DRV said on Friday.
'Of course such a serious occurrence will have an effect,' DRV president Juergen Buechy told journalists. 'We will see slower growth in cruise bookings this year as a result, but over the medium to long term we believe cruises will continue to grow in popularity.'
After the capsizing of the Costa Concordia off an Italian island, killing at least 25 people, cruise bookings tumbled. A further Costa Cruises ship was left stranded in the Indian Ocean after a power failure this week, adding to woes for the company, a unit of Carnival Corp.
Buechy also said bookings to Greece were down on last year, although he did not believe recent animosity from Greece towards Germany over the southern European country's bailout would result in German holidaymakers finding themselves the target of trouble.
'But there is a question mark over bookings to Greece, it remains to be seen whether bookings will pick up later in the season.'
TUI Travel, Europe's largest tour operator, said last month that bookings to Greece from Germany were down 27 percent for the summer season.
In 2011, Germans increased spending on foreign holidays by 1.8 billion euros to almost 61 billion euros ($81.3 billion), the DRV said, with a further increase expected for this year.
'The crises have not affected the wanderlust of Germans,' Buechy said. ($1 = 0.7501 euros)
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Mark Potter) Keywords: GERMANY/CRUISES
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