Perhaps buoyed by a projected 10 percent increase in full-year earnings for the company, TUI’s CEO Fritz Joussen has announced that Europe’s largest tour operator plans to increase its presence worldwide by expanding into Asia and the United States.
Joussen’s confirmation of the forecast—it came as a surprise to many tour and travel industry analysts who expected it to be flat or down because of northern Europe’s extremely hot summer—preceded the discussion of expansion plans during an interview with Joussen by the German business magazine Bilanz.
As reported by the German travel trade news publication, FVW, he indicated that TUI wants to become “a global internet group” with customers not only in Europe but also in China and the USA in the future.
“We are going with our offer to China and the USA,” said Joussen, explaining that that the German company will not open any brick-and—mortar travel agencies in these new markets, but will sell online through its international portal TUI.com.
On previous occasions, Joussen has addressed the subject of TUI’s ambition to sell holidays in countries such as Italy and Spain along with emerging markets in Asia, especially China, and Brazil. However, the Bilanz interview marketed the first occasion in which he has mentioned the U.S. market as well.
TUI already has a small presence active in China through a tour operator venture but is not yet a major player. (You can get an indication of what the company offers in China by visiting http://www.tui.cn/en/ or http://tui.cn/en/B2B/Travel-China.)
TUI’s footprint outside Europe already includes its 49 percent share in the CanadianSunwing Group. Sunwing already sells holidays to U.S. customers.
In the interview with Bilanz, Joussenalso emphasized that TUI will invest heavily in digital technology and marketing in order to develop more personalized offers to travelers in the future. He also noted the financial importance of the company’s own hotels and cruise ships for profits as well as the strategy to expand sales of destination activities. (Last month TUI acquired Musement, a Milan-based online travel agency that specializes in tours and activities.)