TUI AG narrows loss as tourists return to North Africa

Ahram Online, Thursday 10 May 2012

While tourists are returning to Egypt, many don't expect numbers to recover to pre-uprising levels until next year at the earliest

German travel and tourism group TUI AG has said demand for holidays to North Africa is recovering, although not yet fully, as it reported a smaller than expected second-quarter loss of 224 million euros ($289.7 million).

"With the exception of the French travel market, we are observing a stabilisation of demand," the group, which controls Europe's largest tour operator TUI Travel, said in its second-quarter report on Thursday.

Tour operators such as TUI Travel and rival Thomas Cook were hit hard last year as European tourists shied away from North African destinations like Tunisia and Egypt following uprisings.

Tourists are now returning, though many do not expect numbers to recover to pre-uprising levels until next year, maybe even longer for Egypt.

TUI AG also on Thursday confirmed an outlook for moderate turnover growth and a slight improvement in underlying earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) for the fiscal year to end-September.

Analysts had expected the group to report an underlying operating loss of 245 million euros, according to a Reuters poll.

TUI Travel had said on Wednesday it was outperforming competitors in Britain, helping to offset weaker trading in France, and that it expected a strong summer showing.

"Bookings for the 2012 summer season have shown an overall positive development in spite of the persistent uncertainty of the economic environment," TUI AG added.

At Hapag-Lloyd, the shipping company which TUI is trying to exit, high bunker prices resulted in a first-quarter adjusted operating loss of 99.5 million euros.


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