TUI Not to Follow Rival in Shock Decision

Speaking at the WTM, TUI’s UK chief says it wants to work with its partners in raising revenues.

The managing director for TUI’s operations in the UK, Johan Lundgren, says that the tour operator has no intention of following its main rival Thomas Cook in a controversial decision to shave 5% off its summer payments to cash-strapped hotel operators. As reported in TTG Nordic, the European hotel association Hotrec said it was considering legal action against Thomas Cook after the travel giant shocked and angered hotels in holiday destinations such as Greece, Spain and the Canary Islands (pictured), with its sudden decision.

Speaking at World Travel Market 2010 in London, Lundgren, who took over as TUI’s boss for the UK last month, said that it was his company’s job to raise revenues together with its partners for the future rather than look back. “What Thomas Cook have done we would never do,” he said. “We want to work with our partners to deliver competitive rates for us all, rather than do anybody any damage. We would prefer to talk about negotiations for next year than look back at the season that has just gone.”

Commenting separately at the WTM, the director of the Spanish Tourist Office, Ignacio Vasallo, said that Thomas Cook would “not get away” with its decision and added that his organisation would support hotel associations to ensure they were happy with any settlement. “We are supporting our hoteliers and they will not get away with it because it is not a proper way of doing contracts. Spain has to support Thomas Cook and Thomas Cook has to support Spain. Cook know that the prices they were given by hotels for 2010 and for 2011 were very good for them. On top of that you cannot keep 5% back.” He said he expected discussions between hoteliers and Thomas Cook to reach an agreement this week.