Both TUI, DER Lay Claim to being Germany’s Top Long Haul Operator: Two of the three largest tour operators in Germany—TUI and DER Touristik—are waging polite but intense combat as they try to lay claim to the title of Germany’s top long-haul operator.
In one of the key battlefields of the combat, the German trade press, the volleys are fast and furious. And they are factually correct; it seems that both combatants choose which facts they want in order to make their case.
As the major trade publication, FVW reported, “Both companies are right. TUI is now the largest single long-haul brand, ahead of Dertour, Neckermann, FTI and Meier’s Weltreisen. But at a group level, counting all brands, DER Touristik (Dertour, Meier’s, Jahn) is still number one ahead of TUI (TUI, Airtours, 1-2-Fly), Thomas Cook (Neckermann, Thomas Cook Signature) and FTI.”
TUI also pressed its case last week in Germany’s other major trade publication, Touristic Aktuell, which reported “TUI is now also the number one among the German organizers in the booming segment of long-distance travel. In the current figures of market research Hannover (where TUI is based) has overtaken the previous market leader on the long-distance, the Frankfurt brands of DER Touristik,” noting that one out of every four bookings at TUI is for long-haul travel.
Why it Matters
Being Number One always helps any company’s marketing and public relations campaign. In its broadest context, this would suggest that TUI should not have much to worry about. Overall, it has long been Germany’s top operator as measured by market share. In the most recent data available, TUI is tops with a market share of just under 17 percent and DER Touristik ranks third with a share of about 12½ percent. Thomas Cook (Germany) is second with a 13.2 percent share.
During the past two years, however, the sale of travel overall has flattened. Because of safety and security concerns, more Germans are staying home and are booking holidays in Germany or in nearby destinations in continental Europe. Leisure travel to longtime favorites such as Turkey and North Africa has dropped precipitously in the wake of terrorist attacks—some of them aimed specifically at tourists.
At the same time, TUI is on a mission to become a global brand, as it has shed some of its non-core business and country brands. Meanwhile, DER Touristik—it is part of the REWE Group—last summer acquired Kuoni UK together with Kuoni tour operations in Switzerland, Scandinavia and the Benelux region as it focused on expanding its position as a long-haul operator throughout Europe.
All of the above should translate into increased outbound, long-haul travel, especially as airfares are expected to remain stable—indeed, they have decreased for some key routes as low-cost carriers in Europe have forced legacy carriers to compete for share—for the next several years.
In the midst of such an intensively competitive marketplace, then, who owns the claim to being number one matters very much.