European tour operators ranking

TUI, Cook dominate European tourism market

TUI and Thomas Cook dominate the European tour operators market, according to an fvw overview.

January 03, 2014
Photo: Christian Wyrwa

TUI, with tour operator revenues of €18.3 billion in 2012, is significantly bigger than Thomas Cook, which had revenues of some €11.3 billion that year, an fvw ranking of the top ten European tour operators shows. (Figures for 2013 are not yet available for many companies.)

Together, Europe’s two leading leisure travel groups, which have combined market shares of more than 50% in major source markets such as the UK, Scandinavia, Netherlands and Belgium, and more than 30% of the German market, are well ahead of other major tour operators.

Kuoni is Europe’s third-largest tour operator, based on its 2012 turnover of nearly €4.8 billion. In 2013, however, the Swiss group sold off loss-making tour operator businesses in several European countries, including Benelux, France, Spain and Russia. Instead, the group is building up its destination management services and its Asia business.

In contrast, Germany’s DER Touristik, in fourth place with 2012 revenues of €4.65 billion, grew moderately in 2013. In addition, it has made its first major foreign acquisition with Prague-based Exim Holding, which has revenues of some €250 million. The Czech market leader is also active in Poland, Hungary and Slovakia.

The fifth-largest group is cruise firm Costa, which had revenues of €3.1 billion in 2011 but has not released figures for 2012. The company is likely to have grown overall due to the fast expansion of German subsidiary Aida Cruises. Two more German tour operators, FTI and Alltours, occupy the sixth and seventh positions with 2012 revenues of €1.8 billion and €1.6 billion respectively.

Club Med is the eighth-largest European tour operator with revenues of €1.5 billion in 2012. With its new Chinese investor, the French group is now re-focusing on growth in Asia as well as higher-value resorts. In contrast, Italy’s Alpitour, with 2012 revenues of just over €1 billion, and Switzerland’s Hotelplan (€975 million revenues) are aiming to improve profitability and strengthen various weak business activities.

Among a diverse mix of tour operators with three-digit million revenues are competitors such as the Scandinavian Primera Group (€650 million revenues), loss-making French group FRAM (€450 million) and Russian firms such as Pegas, Tez Tour and OTI. One prominent victim of tough trading conditions in many European markets was OAD, the third-largest Dutch tour operator which declared insolvency last year.

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