TUI is now lauding the Greek efforts to restart tourism in the summer of 2020 when the figures and the science on COVID-19 are not even in yet. News from GTP and other sources sound the bull horn for a German company on the rocks because of the pandemic. Now TUI says its bookings to Greece for 2021 are ‘Outstandingly Good’, at a moment when cases are reaching a crescendo.
I must say I am amazed that the callous parroting of corporate deals and marketing still goes on at the crest of the second wave of COVID-19. TUI, the world’s biggest tour operator, is in a no holds barred effort to stop the bleeding from company stocks over the pandemic. And amazingly, on the media end of things, there’s little criticism or opinion against TUI’s borderline business of late. An editor at GTP writes:
“Due to demand, TUI for the first time will extend its business in Greece through November with flights and cruise routes, this way prolonging the tourism season.”
But the author makes no comment about why and where the demand is coming from. Of course, this is just a regurgitation of the press from TUI. Why not simply post the full company release? Ah, but this is a fairly subtle nuance in publishing. The real problem with the TUI news is that its part of a campaign that involves the Greek Tourism Ministry.
You see, the lines between the public and private sectors have been all but erased now. And perhaps will end up being the biggest catastrophe of the coronavirus pandemic. At the instant more people in Greece are sick, scared, or dying, Athens officials are catering to huge corporate interests that could give a damn about human beings.
Here in Heraklion, schools have restarted only to have COVID-19 cases cause almost immediate closings, quarantines, and even sit ins by protesting students. This news is only in Crete newspapers and online media outlets, but the mainstream tourism and hospitality media speaks only about Heraklion becoming TUI’s port of call for giant cruise ships expected to 6,000-7,000 cruise passengers to Greece.
TUI and other corporate entities are leveraging politicians to ram German travelers down the throats of Greeks, while Greek officials ponder lockdowns and other measures to stem the cases of COVID-19. They not only create the PR and marketing campaigns, they then brag about the “successes” of the restart, even though most hoteliers and retailers in Greece lost their lunchmoney anyhow.
In short, the media barrage and the PR propaganda mill created to help TUI and others is getting people killed. There are no two ways of expressing what’s going on in Europe, and even more prominently in the United States.
Anglo-German multinational travel and tourism company sought placement of this story for a single purpose. To keep TUI investors from bailing out on a multinational behemoth that has already gone in the hole €3 billion to the German government. Now, TUI is eyeballing bilging up another €1 billion by selling more stocks. And herein lies the reason for the PR campaigns, in my opinion.
If TUI wants to sell stock to try and get more liquidity, then the price needs to climb out of the cellar a bit, or at least remain stable. Clearly, the strategy is working for the German tour company for the last 24 hours since the news came out has seen TUI AG rise 2.64%. The headline TUI adds thousands of Greece holidays with deals launched 5 or 6 days ago found favor at The Sun, The Mirror, GTP, Express, The Scottish Sun, The Manchester Evening News, and many other outlets.
The bottom line is that TUI and other companies are desperate. The fact that the company is considering other options for an infusion of cash, means that the German government may not be prepared to help further. Should TUI stocks dive farther because of drooping investor confidence, the world’s biggest tourism enterprise may go belly up.
Digging deeper, I found out that TUI is already sending cruise ships to the boneyard on account of COVID-19. For me, this means the company has probably already exhausted every other avenue to stay afloat. TUI has huge problems with its balance sheet.
At the end of the day it all comes down to the value of one human life. I know this is a coarse reality, but let’s face it, the private and public sector are in cahoots in a game where people live or die based on balance sheets and international debt. TUI, Lufthansa, Fraport, and dozens of other interests have pushed the razor thin separation of state and corporate affairs to an invisible razor’s edge. Greece is approaching ten times the number of COVID cases that shut the country down in the Spring.
Meanwhile, business and government are burning the candle at both ends trying to find black ink. The bean counters now rule the roost, and the rest of us chickens are expendible.
To be continued…..