INBOUND readers who regularly visit our HODGE PODGE section might have noticed last week’s news that René Herzog, head of DER Touristik’s Central Europe division—it is the company’s largest—is leaving the company with no particular place to go. At the same time, Ingo Burmester has left the top job at Thomas Cook UK to take the top position at DER Touristik in a handover that will be effective next May.
The movement is part of a restructuring by DER Touristik of its German tour operator business that will also include a 10 percent cut in the company’s work force. Planning for the move has been underway for some time. It was first announced in March 2017.
The DER Touristik Group comprises four divisions: Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe along with Destination Management Companies & Hotels. The largest division is Central Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), which is the one that Burmester will lead.
The restructuring takes place in the wake of a fairly aggressive expansion on the part of DER Touristik that included the acquisition of the European tour operator businesses of Kuoni in 2015, as well as the acquisition of Kuoni France earlier this year.
According to a report in the German travel trade publication FVW, the restructuring will address DER Touristik’s under-performing German tour operating business, which covers six brands: Dertour, Meiers Weltreisen, ITS, Jahn Reisen, ADAC Reisen and Travelix. The restructuring is designed to make DER Touristik Deutschland “leaner, more efficient and faster” in order to respond more quickly and better to the wishes of customers, sales partners and suppliers.
In an interview with FVW, CEO Sören Hartmann explained that the DER Touristik Central Europe business accounts for two thirds of the group’s revenues but only one third of its profits. However, the international businesses (outside of Central Europe) have been successfully and profitably restructured over the past three years, and now generate two thirds of group revenues although only one third of revenues.
DER Touristik is Germany’s third largest tour operator and one of the largest producers of Visit USA business in Europe. According to the company’s profile in the delegate registry for this year’s IPW trade show in Denver, the company indicated that it sends more than 100,000 visitors a year to the U.S.