Tourism: Expert: Other tour operators benefit from FTI insolvency

Tourism: Expert: Other tour operators benefit from FTI insolvency

The insolvency of the third largest European tour operator FTI is causing turbulence. But people will still travel, expects tourism expert Kirstges.

From the perspective of tourism expert Torsten Kirstges, the travel industry is doing well overall despite the insolvency of the FTI Group. Debts and bank loans from the Corona crisis were a burden. “But there is a lot of travel, high-priced trips are in vogue, and cruises are booming again,” Kirstges told dpa.

The tourism researcher from the Jade University in Wilhelmshaven expects that the remaining tour operators will benefit from the FTI insolvency. “People will travel despite the FTI insolvency and the billion-euro cake will be divided among the other tour operators.” By next year at the latest, the overall figures will no longer reflect the turbulence.

Major difficulties due to corona pandemic

FTI has recently lost trust in the industry, partly because of its very weak 2022 balance sheet, said Kirstges. “FTI was rather price-aggressive and earned relatively little per trip with a comparatively weak equity base.” In particular, the travel bans during the Corona pandemic ultimately got the company into great difficulties.

The third-largest European travel group after Tui and DER Touristik was dependent on state aid during the pandemic, which must be repaid. The company received a total of almost 600 million euros from the Economic Stabilization Fund.

Application for insolvency instead of fresh capital

Europe’s third-largest travel group FTI had filed for insolvency at the Munich District Court. A consortium led by the US financial investor Certares actually wanted to take over the FTI Group for one euro and inject 125 million euros of fresh capital into the company. The competition authorities still had to approve the deal.

According to the information, however, the booking figures have recently fallen well short of expectations. “In addition, numerous suppliers insisted on advance payment. As a result, there was an increased need for liquidity, which could no longer be bridged until the closing of the investor process,” FTI said.

Source: Stern

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