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TUI celebrates its 50th year

TUI Plane

As the Touristik Union International – briefly TUI – was founded in Germany on 1 December 1968 by the four medium-sized tour operators Touropa, Scharnow-Reisen, Hummel-Reise, and Dr. Tigges Fahrten, it was not important enough to hit the newspaper headlines.

At the time, nobody suspected that one day the largest integrated tourism group in the world would result from this merger. Today, the entire tourism value chain is to be found under the umbrella of the TUI Group with international tour operator brands, six airlines with around 150 medium- and long-haul aircraft, its own cruise ships, destination agencies and around 380 of their own hotels.

"Today, the TUI Smile is a visible sign of service, innovation, quality and safety in virtually all of the Group's business areas," said Erik Friemuth, TUI Group's Chief Marketing Officer. "With our globally uniform brand image, we create trust and orientation for our guests".

While TUI previously was essentially a tour operator, ever since the corporate restructuring started in 2014, the company has, above all, become a developer, investor, and operator of hotel and cruise companies. Today, more than 60 percent of the Group's operating result comes from the hotel companies and the cruises operated by the Group subsidiaries Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, TUI Cruises, and Marella Cruises. TUI has successfully completed the transformation from a classic tour operator to today's hotel and cruise group and has taken the next step towards becoming a digital and platform company. Investments in modern IT, unified global customer systems, the Blockchain, investments in the Düsseldorf-based IT company Peakwork and the purchase of the Italian technology start-up Musement point the way for the future. Today, TUI is present in more than 100 destinations and with more than 20 million customers, the leading international tourism group.

Powerful innovation right from the start

TUI has always set standards, today and as it already did when it started operations in Germany. The innovative power for which the company is known today was already evident in its beginnings. TUI was the first tour operator to offer travel cancellation insurance to its customers – already in its founding year in 1968. Only two years later, the first large computer for travel reservations, the START booking system, with the participation of TUI was used. The organizer was also trendsetter in the introduction of the 24-hour emergency phone and in crisis management. TUI was the first travel agency to set up its own crisis team and was also a leader in yield management. Other innovations in which TUI played a pioneering role were the money-back guarantee with which the Group underscored its commitment to quality, the introduction of early-bird prices and the train-to-flight ticket included in the package.

From medium-sized tour operator to global market leader

In its 50-year history, TUI has undergone many changes and driven itself forward. The group is not standing still; It continues to develop and, as a result, also shapes the industry. TUI in 2018 is a completely different company than what was TUI five or ten years ago. The strategic transformation into an integrated business model enables TUI to accompany its customers during all phases of their travel – from initial counseling right through to excursions at the resort. Through its own distribution channels, hotels, airlines, cruise ships, and service agencies in the tourist destinations, the quality of holiday experiences in all stages of the value chain is ensured.

Digitization as a growth driver

A key driver for the continued growth and development of the Group is digitization. On the one hand, TUI is opening up new markets such as China, India or Brazil by making use of standardized software in a completely digital approach. At the same time, digital at TUI means above all: more service and better service for the customers, and more efficient processes within the company. Capacity management based on the Blockchain technology, for example, allows for the optimal utilization of the company's own hotel portfolio. A standardized Group-wide customer platform and the use of artificial intelligence allow a holistic view of the customer. In future, TUI will be able to offer each guest individualized and relevant offers which precisely address the wishes and preferences of each customer.

In the last half century, TUI has achieved a great deal and made decisive contribution to the shaping of tourism. In future, the Group will increasingly transform itself into a digital and platform enterprise. The company's values and its vision will, however, be maintained in the future: TUI stands for service, quality and safety. Think Travel. Think TUI.

A leader in terms of sustainability – Environmental Officer as a novelty in the nineties

The global responsibility for sustainable, ecological and social action has been a central element of TUI's corporate culture for decades. As early as the beginning of the nineties, TUI became the first tour operator and even one of the first companies of any kind in Germany to have the function of Environmental Officer. Today, the Group has set very ambitious goals with the “Better Holidays, Better World“ strategy. TUI wants to reduce the ecological footprint and reduce the CO2 intensity of its own business operations by ten percent by the year 2020. By then, the number of more sustainable trips offered should rise to ten million annually. In addition, in 2015 the TUI Group initiated and founded the TUI Care Foundation. The foundation provides young people in more than 20 countries around the world with new prospects for the future through education and training, protects nature and the environment, and promotes the sustainable development of destination regions.

TUI Group is the world’s leading tourism group operating in around 180 destinations worldwide. For more information, visit