‘No plan to return to Tunisia’, says Tui

Tui has no immediate plans to return to Tunisia from the UK despite the Foreign Office lifting its advice against all travel to the country last month.

Fritz Joussen, Tui Group chief executive, said a return to Tunisia “depends heavily on demand, if people want to go and the Foreign Office thinks it is safe”.

But he said: “We have made no decisions on this yet. Whether we put up a programme is not decided.”

UK travel companies withdrew from Tunisia in line with Foreign Office advice after the massacre of Tui holidaymakers from Britain on the beach in Sousse in June 2015.

Joussen’s predecessor as group chief executive Peter Long previously suggested an immediate return to Tunisia was unlikely.

However, Joussen said he did see demand returning to Turkey, where UK visitor numbers plummeted last year following a series of bomb attacks and a failed coup attempt.

Joussen said: “Turkey was historically very strong and a high-margin business. The reason was the shortage of [bed] supply.

“We see now the demand is there – not only from Russia – and there is demand for upper class [accommodation].

“So we made a decision not to reduce our capacity to Turkey [as last year].”

He said Spain “was a beneficiary” of the lower demand for Turkey and this had presented “a little bit of a challenge to the country”.

“People [in Spain] are thinking there are too many tourists,” he said, “although most people are very happy with it.

“Tourism is a very healthy industry these days. [But] when the capacity is full, the capacity is full.

“The strong beneficiaries are also Greece, Croatia, Bulgaria. Greece is at an all-time high. Cape Verde is very strong.”

Tui reported “a strong performance” in third-quarter results released today, with group turnover for the three months to June up 16% to €4.94 billion and underlying operating profit up almost 19% to €191 million year on year.

The group reported the first operating profit for the nine months to June in its history.


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