UK consolidation over, say big two – we’re going global

Tui Travel and Thomas Cook declared consolidation of the UK travel industry at an end today. However, Tui Travel is poised to make “big moves” globally and Thomas Cook is seeking deals in Germany.

Tui Travel chief executive Peter Long said: “We see no further consolidation in Europe apart from particular segments. That is it. We’re looking elsewhere.”

His counterpart at Thomas Cook, Manny Fontenla-Novoa, said: “We see some opportunities in Germany – we’ll see how that develops.” He declined to give more details.

The pair were speaking at the Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT) conference in Venice, where Fontela-Novoa said: “The Co-operative Travel is the last deal we will do in the UK.”

Thomas Cook announced a retail merger with the Co-operative Travel and Midlands Co-operative last October, which it hopes to see get a go-ahead from the Competition Commission by July.

Long told the ITT conference: “We have the aspiration to move from being a European operation to become a global operation. That will take some big moves. We are looking at Russia and China. We have a small position in India and we’re looking at Brazil. We operate on a global stage now.”

Fontela-Novoa agreed, saying: “Most European markets are well consolidated. We want consolidation in Russia and we’re looking at China.”

Thomas Cook took a majority stake in Russian group Intourist in late 2010.

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