TUI Group confirms demise of Thomson and First Choice
TUI Group has confirmed it will migrate to a single brand across all its markets, in effect signalling the end of Thomson and First Choice.
The companies have been mainstays of the UK holiday market for a generation.
In a call to analysts TUI Group chief executive Peter Long said the migration to the TUI brand would take place over several years.
He added: “There is no hurry, no urgency, it will all be done in a very controlled way.
“We are not rushing to rebrand and we are not rebranding for the sake of it.”
Migration is expected to start in smaller markets, including France and Holland, with lessons learned there before phasing out its popular brands in other markets.
The UK, TUI’s largest source market, will be the last country to switch.
The news come as TUI Group revealed it has continued its slow financial recovery in the first half of financial year 2014/15.
The group’s underlying EBITA rose by 20.2 per cent to a seasonal loss of €272.6 million.
The result includes a book profit of €16m on the sale of a RIU hotel.
Turnover by the TUI Group also grew in the period, rising by 7.3 per cent to €6.94 billion, compared to €6.47 billion in the previous year.
Around half of the increase was attributable to foreign exchange translation effects.
In order to account for the rapid and successful integration following the merger between TUI AG and TUI Travel PLC, the TUI Group has created a new Group structure.
The Group’s integrated business model will be reflected in the tourism unit in future, comprising all source markets, the expanded Hotels & Resorts business and Cruises.
The source markets are grouped into three regions: Northern Region, Central Region and Western Region.
The former TUI Travel PLC hotels have been allocated to Hotels & Resorts.
The bedbank Hotelbeds Group and the Specialist Group (formerly Specialist & Activity) continue to be run independently.
They are grouped under “Other businesses”, which also include the LateRooms Group.
However, the executive board has decided to divest the LateRooms Group operating in the UK market.