CEOs of TUI and DER Touristik at the ITB Berlin NOW Convention report on prospects arising from and following the crisis
Few industries have been as hard-hit by the pandemic as tourism. Friedrich Joussen, Chairman of the Board of the TUI Group, and Sören Hartmann, Chairman of DER Touristik Group, are using the ITB Berlin NOW Convention to explain how their companies intend to find a way out of the crisis.
TUI saw its turnover fall by 56 per cent during the business year 2020. Nevertheless Friedrich Joussen believes that there is light at the end of the tunnel for the world’s largest tourism group. Joussen maintains that the prospects for tourism and for TUI are good. The group sees 2021 as a “year of transition”, followed by a “return to pre-coronavirus levels” in 2022.
For the past two years the tour operator has been working on a virtual platform, which will provide answers within seconds to vacationers’ queries about such aspects as pick-up times from hotels. This platform has been developed at the Innovation Lab of TUI Destination Experiences in Palma. As Joussen explains: “We are making use of this crisis to expand our digital services even faster.”
Sören Hartmann describes the changes in the following way: “Up until March 2020 customers knew what they had booked – now travel has become unpredictable.” Tourism now needs reliable prospects, and a good start can be made with safe travel corridors, more opportunities for testing and digital vaccination passes.
According to Hartmann the industry will undergo fundamental changes, with customers booking at shorter notice and paying later. This presents challenges for the financial sector in the tourism industry. There will also be structural changes in the way that travel agencies and tour operators work with one another, according to Hartmann. There will have to be a different way of thinking: “The industry is facing massive changes.”