Tui could be back in Tunisia by winter 2018 if its competitor’s programme is a success, the firm’s UK and Ireland boss has revealed, writes Tom Parry.
A total of 33 of the 38 tourists killed in the Sousse terror attack in 2015 were Tui customers. Speaking to TTG last week Nick Longman admitted the travel giant was not in a rush to return to the north African country.
“I don’t think it is going to be this winter, it probably won’t be next summer – maybe it will be winter 18,” he said. “I know Thomas Cook has started a programme so we’ll keep an eye [on it] and see how they are doing – at the point where we feel our consumers really want to go there, then we will look to reintroduce it.”
Longman added that Tui was also examining Google statistics to assess demand for holidays in the country. “It’s early days and we certainly haven’t seen a huge upsurge in enquiries for Tunisia in either our retail or online,” he added. “I think it’s a kind of watch and see, but my guess would be it’s more likely to be towards the end of next year.”
Elsewhere, Longman urged for “lessons to be learned” by the UK government over its cooperation with the trade following the collapse of Monarch.
“Had [the government] actually confided their concerns [about Monarch] to us, [given that] we understand aviation planning, we could have helped in terms of constructing maybe a more efficient programme,” he told TTG.
Longman revealed that Tui was only approached after the Department for Transport created its own shadow airline to repatriate customers.
“We could have utilised some of our empty seats [on our aircraft] to bring our own customers back,” he added.