JT Touristik Files for Insolvency: On Friday, Sept. 29, the Berlin-based tour operator JT Touristik filed for insolvency (bankruptcy) proceedings. The young company—it was founded in 2009—will continue its business operations in self-government and under the supervision of an expert during the restoration process. JT Touristik, whose product in the US consisted of Citybreaks in Florida, New York and Las Vegas, filed for bankruptcy following the decision of insurer Generali Versicherungs AG to withdraw from the travel insurance market and the resulting termination of its policyholders as of October 31, 2017. Despite its efforts to find another insurance carrier, JT Touristik did not succeed. Without the insurance for organizers of package travel, no guarantee can be given to the customer; accordingly, the organizer cannot accept payments from customers. A Berlin court has appointed lawyer Stephan Thiemann as the provisional insolvency administrator for JT Touristik and approved the creation of a creditors’ committee.
TUI Germany Shutting down Budget Tour Operator 1-2-Fly: Continuing its policy of a developing a single, global identity through a core brand, TUI plans to integrate its budget tour operator 1-2-Fly into the main business next year. TUI, the largest travel company in both Germany and Europe, will shut down 1-2-Fly after the summer 2018 season. From winter 2018/19 onwards, package holidays in cheaper hotels will be offered under the core TUI brand instead. Stefan Baumert, TUI Germany’s tourism director, told the German travel trade publication FVW that the closure was part of the group’s international brand strategy to put more focus on the core TUI brand. He stressed that all 1-2-Fly hotels would continue to be offered by TUI.
TUI France-Transat Merger Near Completion: Some 16 months after TUI France announced its plans to acquire Transat Holidays in France, Transat several weeks ago officially became TUI Tours. Completion of the acquisition was complicated by strict labor laws in France that make it difficult to lay off and/or relocate, as well as testy negotiations between workers and TUI on a voluntary separation plan. Thus far, there have been more than 200 departures from the company (70 percent were former Transat employees); ultimately, some 250 employees will depart. In addition, the new TUI unit has brought aboard new manager-level employees. The company is expected to be fully unified when all employees are located at a single geographic location. They are still separated geographically between Levallois-Perret (headquarters of TUI France) and Ivry-sur-Seine (home base of Transat France). By next January, it is planned to have all employees at Levallois.