The Frankfurt-based group confirmed the news in a statement this morning, as its chief executive insisted that the company’s “national entities and brands [would] continue to exist”.
“Travel requirements are as individual as the people who travel. That’s why we believe in diversity", Sören Hartmann, chief executive of DER Touristik Group said.
The statement continued that he had “rejected the idea of merging the national entities into a single company”.
"We will create a European affiliation of very strong tourism companies. Sales and tour operators – as well as the specialist brands – will remain national. If you want to meet individual travel requirements, you have to be close to the customer", he added.
Competition bodies for Switzerland and the EU had approved “without conditions, the acquisition of the entire European tour operator and travel sales business of the Swiss tourism group Kuoni Travel Holding Ltd”, DER Touristik said in a statement.
Derek Jones, managing director of Kuoni UK added that the company had briefed staff and business partners this morning, and that there was “real optimism” about the company’s future.
“Being part of this dynamic European travel group brings the best of worlds; the security and support which comes with being part of a highly-successful company together with the trust to run our businesses in the UK independently,” he said.
“DER Touristik and Kuoni UK share the same values, in terms of ambition, customer focus and nurturing and growing the skills and talent within our teams. We are all looking forward to sharing ideas and learning from our new colleagues. I know I speak on behalf of everyone at Kuoni UK when I say that there is a real optimism and excitement about our future as part of DER Touristik.”
The Frankfurt group said that it would now have combined revenue of €7 billion and 7.7 million customers, with operations in the tour operator and travel sales business in 14 European countries.
The transaction covers all tour operators, specialists, travel agencies and online portals in the markets of Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Benelux as well as Scandinavia/Finland – where it also includes the airline Novair and the Playitas sports resort in Fuerteventura.