Kuoni’s sale of its tour operating activities, including its UK business, has gained approval by European competition authorities.
All European tour operators, travel agencies and online portals of Kuoni are being transferred to the German REWE Group, parent company of DER Touristik.
The expanded DER Touristik will have combined revenue of €7 billion and 7.7 million customers, with operations in 14 European countries.
The deal covers all tour operators, specialists, travel agencies and online portals in Switzerland, the UK, Benelux as well as Scandinavia and Finland – where it also includes the airline Novair – and the Playitas sports resort in Fuerteventura.
Sören Hartmann, chief executive of Frankfurt-based DER Touristik Group, rejected the idea of merging the national entities into a single company.
The national entities and brands will continue to exist, he stressed.
“Travel requirements are as individual as the people who travel. That’s why we believe in diversity,” he said. “We will create a European affiliation of very strong tourism companies.
“Sales and tour operators – as well as the specialist brands – will remain national. If you want to meet individual travel requirements, you have to be close to the customer.”
Consumers should also benefit from this merger, DER claims.
“Being a large group gives us the leverage to achieve even more with regard to quality and terms. That will be good for our customers,” said Hartmann.
Kuoni UK managing director, Derek Jones, tweeted: “This morning we are excited to become part of the Der Touristik Group. We are joining a great team.”
This morning we are excited to become part of the Der Touristik Group. We are joining a great team. #KuoniUK— Derek Jones (@Degsycom) September 14, 2015
Jones added: “This morning we have briefed our staff and our business partners that we are now officially part of the DER Touristik Group.
“Being part of this dynamic European travel group brings the best of worlds; the security and support which comes with being part of a highly-successful company together with the trust to run our businesses in the UK independently.
“DER Touristik and Kuoni UK share the same values, in terms of ambition, customer focus and nurturing and growing the skills and talent within our teams.
“We are all looking forward to sharing ideas and learning from our new colleagues. I know I speak on behalf of everyone at Kuoni UK when I say that there is a real optimism and excitement about our future as part of DER Touristik.”