This will be the shortest opinion piece I ever wrote. A message from TUI Group CEO Fritz Joussen concerning fast-tracking budget travel as usual, requires no in-depth analysis. The man and the people standing behind him are delusional at best, and crazy in a worst-case.
There’s no need to fixate on stock prices or the billions TUI has had to beg the German government for. And most of us already know sustainability is mutually exclusive of low-budget travel via plane, car, boat, or train. We also know the giant tours company only avoided going belly up because of deep bank and governmental connections when the pandemic shut down most of its business. Now, one of the most unsustainable businesses on Earth rears its snakelike head again, eager to put pensioners and budget hungry travelers back on the beaches of southern Europe. Here’s the word straight from he horse’s (arse’s) mouth:
“The rapid measures to cut costs and secure liquidity are important for the Group. They are a stable foundation for the future. TUI was in perfect health before the crisis and we want to return to our former strength as quickly as possible. The market is intact, our business model is future-proof and customer demand is there. Holiday travel remains very relevant for people. At the same time, international tourism is strengthening the southern eurozone and North Africa in a special way. We are very well positioned to resume operations on a larger scale as soon as the lockdowns are lifted and destinations are reopened.”
Joussen went on to say that his company’s “genius” business model of owning every aspect of travel from aircraft to hotel toilet seat covers will “enable” TUI to get back at flooding Greek beaches with eager cheapskate tourists. Joussen’s words are amplified by the corporate narrative of “newer, more digital, and leaner” business operations, which to blue chip bean counters only means saving margins. These people are crazy, lazy, and out of control, this is my assessment. Somebody has to put a stop to what TUI and other companies like it are doing. And soon.
Future proof! The man actually used this term to describe TUI’s bargain-basement model for the buffet line travel experience! Wow! Talk about arrogant and stupid in one package. Santorini is threatening to erupt again, only this time spewing tons of cruise ship souvenir hunters in the air instead of ash. Crete’s northern coast now resembles Las Vegas on the sea. Croatia is a sea tide of bobbing heads who point at history like they’re in Disney World. And Turkey has become the Mexico of the east, so cheap hoteliers almost pay guests to stay.
Sorry, I promised short and sweet, so there it is. You do the research this time, or use common sense. Can tourism survive forever, “future proofed” by people who care about nothing but dividends?