FTI relocates central business units to Egypt and Turkey

One of Germany’s biggest tourism groups, FTI, will open major offices in El Gouna and Istanbul under a reorganisation and partly due to staffing problems in its home city.

June 28, 2018
El Gouna resort in Egypt belongs to hotelier and FTI shareholder Samih Sawiris.
Photo: Shutterstock

The new offices are part of a reorganisation under which activities for the entire FTI Group and individual tour operator brands have been structured more clearly than in the past. There are now central group units covering flight procurement, destination management, hospitality, sales, operations and call centres. Until now, some of these activities were carried out by the German tour operator business on behalf of the whole group.

At the same time, FTI is facing problems winning sufficient qualified staff for these central functions in its home location of Munich, where it currently has 120 open job vacancies. Tourism companies in the Bavarian capital, where rents and living costs are high, cannot compete with the salaries paid, for example, by banks, insurance companies, automotive groups and companies in other industries.

In response, owner Dietmar Gunz has apparently decided to turn this challenge into an opportunity by opening offices in other, lower-cost locations where staff are easier to recruit, both in Germany and in other countries. For example, FTI has opened an office in Berlin, where it has taken over staff formerly employed by Air Berlin in order to build up the group flight procurement operation.

Now, however, FTI has decided to centralise some business activities in lower-cost locations outside Germany.

This week FTI and its destination services subsidiary Meeting Point signed a rental agreement for a large office in a new business park close to El Gouna, the Egyptian holiday resort town developed by Orascom Holding, which is owned by hotelier and FTI minority shareholder Samih Sawiris. The nine-year rental contract is worth US$ 6.7 million, according to Orascom.

Some 200 staff of Meeting Point Egypt will initially work in the office, which is due to open in June 2019, with more staff planned at a later date. Meeting Point Egypt is responsible for FTI’s incoming agency activities.

In addition, FTI will soon open a new office in Istanbul to bundle staff from the group’s ‘hospitality’ unit, including hotel management activities, in one location.

The group reorganisation does not mean any job losses or managerial changes at the German tour operator brands FTI, Big Xtra, 5 vor Flug (last-minute holidays), Windrose (luxury holidays) and LAL Sprachreisen (language holidays). In total, FTI Group has some 7,500 employees spread through some 120 different subsidiaries.

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