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Published on Sunday, October 27, 2019

TUI rushes to snap up the best of Thomas Cook's hotels






TUI has moved quickly to snap up the best Thomas Cook hotels in Spain, Turkey and the rest of the Mediterranean following the latter's collapse last month.

It has already signed lots of new contracts with former Thomas Cook hoteliers, said TUI Hotels & Resorts MD Erik Freimuth, and it is rushing to get them back on sale.

TUI is looking at adding some of Thomas Cook's concept hotels as well as properties managed by third parties to its portfolios. Some might be suitable for its re-launched TUI Blue brand, it said.

"We will take a fair share of Thomas Cook's hotels, but not all of them make sense for us, we are trying to pick those that offer the best holiday for TUI customers," said Freimuth.

He said the failure of TUI's closest international rival had left a two million-passenger hole in the market, which TUI is keen to fill.

"We are at a critical point of growing much faster than we have in the past," he said. TUI has already announced that it expects to sell an extra one million holidays (two million return seats) in the UK next summer as a direct result of Thomas Cook's collapse, and it will carry an extra 500,000 from Germany and 200,000 from the rest of Europe and the Nordics, more than a 6% increase year on year.

However, he said Thomas Cook's demise proved that the holiday industry 'is no longer what it was'. Even his friends asked him if TUI will be the next company to fail, he told around 200 TUI employees and media who had flown to Turkey for the relaunch of TUI Blue this weekend. "They asked me if the package holiday is dead," he said.

He reassured the audience that he didn't believe this to be the case, adding that, in his opinion, TUI is very different to Thomas Cook; 70% of its earnings come from its owned hotels and cruise ships. "We are no longer a tour operating business, we are an asset-owning business," he said. "This gives us stability.

"The Thomas Cook bankruptcy was the biggest change to our business this year. In a way it's a pity because they invented this business, but they didn't move on and as a consequence they went bust.

"They left hoteliers with unpaid bills and no guests. We started talking immediately to a lot of these hotels and they are very happy because they understand that TUI is profitable and we can pay the bills.

"We will take a fair share of the Thomas Cook hotels, there are opportunities for us across its whole portfolio."

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