Tui UK & Ireland is starting long-haul winter packages to Vietnam for 2017-18 but is withdrawing fly-cruises from Dubai.
The Thomson and First Choice owner will be offering 14-night all inclusive stays to the island of Phu Quoc with prices starting at £1,500 per person based on 12-hour flights from Gatwick.
The operator is is extending into winter the summer Caribbean destinations of St Lucia and Cayo Santa Maria in Cuba as it builds its range of long haul offerings.
However, the company is redeploying the Thomson Celebration from Dubai to a new home port of La Romana in the Dominican Republic to operate alongside Tui Discovery from Barbados and Tui Discovery 2 from Jamaica.
UK & Ireland managing director Nick Longman admitted Dubai fly-cruises had not performed as well as expected while the Caribbean has been a success. The older leased ships Thomson Majesty and Thomson Spirit will also leave the fleet in November 2017 before two vessels are transferred from Tui in Germany to join the UK fleet.
A range of long haul city breaks are being introduced to the 2017-18 winter programme after company research found that more people were comfortable taking flights of nine hours or more, including 77% of families.
The destinations being featured are Las Vegas, New York, Miami, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur with flights from Gatwick, Heathrow, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.
Thomson has created a web-based tool to help customers build city break itineraries
The company is claiming a UK industry first by offering dynamically packaged multi-centre options via its website with instant confirmations using what Longman described as “Tinder-like” functionality. Five long haul destinations will be featured in a first phase – Costa Rica, Cuba, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Goa – which go on sale in mid-November.
The tour and stay combinations will then be extended to cover more than 1,500 options covering over 40 multi-centres.
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