TUI Group targets “digitally driven” China

CEO Fritz Joussen explains why China is so important
TUI Group CEO Fritz Joussen held a keynote at the first ITB China tourism fair yesterday in Shanghai, keen to chase growth in the world’s largest travel market.
He spoke about growth and innovation in the global travel market and how China and Europe are coming closer together in this segment.
His speech revolved around tapping into potential markets in Asia, in particular China, where TUI sees “great potential to build a new base by means of its own strong brand, state-of-the-art digital technology and sustainable holiday products Made in Germany for Chinese and Asian customers”, the company said.
Apart from growing further in its traditional European markets, the group recently launched its TUI 2022 program. Within the next five years, it aims to win an additional million customers and generate an additional billion euros in annual revenue.
To achieve that, it is seeking to gain a larger foothold and gain market share in both South America and Asia using the stature of its international brand and digital technology to tap into new markets.
“Developing our presence in China offers enormous opportunities for us as a quality holiday brand with global reach,” Joussen said.
The government of China predicts that in the coming five years Chinese tourists will make 700 million overseas visits. TUI already has a 120-employee team at TUI China and the group is building on a successful and long-standing partnership with CTS, which owns the biggest travel agency network in China with around 350 outlets.
“The Chinese travel market is far more digitally driven than the German market,” Joussen said. “In Germany alone, TUI owns 450 retail stores and has about 10,000 travel agencies selling our products and services – including China holidays to our European customers. […] In China, customers more and more use their smartphone to book their holidays. This underlines our ambition to tap into China as a potential market using our brand and digital technology and develop state-of-the-art travel solutions with our Chinese partners. China is not only the largest tourism market in the world – it is also the most dynamic one.”
However, he cautioned: “One of the issues with China is that it is so big. Therefore it is risky to build your brand too rapidly, plus you will need to spend millions of dollars to do so. That’s not what we want. We want to build a direct relationship with satisfied customers.”
TUI sees further opportunities to position its brand in China through cooperation such as partnership with Alibaba subsidiary Fliggy. The group is looking to inspire Chinese travellers to book holidays at TUI across the globe with a focus on Southeast Asia and its new hotels in the Maldives, Thailand and Vietnam.
“Some of our hotels are being marketed internationally, for example our first Robinson Club in the Maldives. There, the majority of guests are already today from China, Japan and Korea. The club features special Asian cuisine, which is also enjoyed by our German guests,” Joussen said.
TTG Nordic