Tag Archives: TUI

TUI CEO Visits Heritance Negombo

4 Mar

DHS Jayawardena with Fritz Joussen at Heritance Negombo

TUI Group CEO Fritz Joussen accompanied by other TUI top-level executives visited Heritance Negombo on Thursday. The 139-room hotel is the latest hotel investment by Aitken Spence in Sri Lanka, which is to open in April 2016.

The high profile team from TUI, the world’s largest integrated tourism group, included the CEO of TUI Germany, Managing Director of Product and Purchasing, CEO of TUI Nordic and Managing Director of TUI UK and Ireland . The TUI executives were welcomed by Aitken Spence Chairman Deshamanya D H S Jayawardena, Deputy Chairman J M S Brito and Head of Leisure/Director Stasshani Jayawardena.

The historic visit is organized by TUI’s joint venture partner in Sri Lanka Aitken Spence Travels.

Visiting Heritance Negombo



TUI – World’s Largest Tourism Group to Boost Destination Sri Lanka

3 Mar
TUI_CEO_Fritz Joussen

Fritz Joussen, Group CEO – TUI Group

A high profile delegation of TUI, the world’s number one integrated tourism Group, headed by the Group CEO Fritz Joussen will be visiting Sri Lanka today (Thursday). Organized by its joint venture partner Aitken Spence Travels, this would be the first time that Fritz Joussen will be visiting Sri Lanka. Joussen will be accompanied by other TUI top-level executives including: the CEO of TUI Germany, Managing Director of Product and Purchasing, CEO of TUI Nordic and Managing Director of TUI UK and Ireland on this visit. This visit highlights the focus on destination Sri Lanka and is a major endorsement from the global tourism giant.

TUI provides services along the entire tourism value chain for its 30 million plus customers from 31 source markets travelling to 180 destinations. It employs over 77,000 people in 130 countries. The group owns over 300 hotels & resorts with 210,000 beds, operating 136 aircrafts and 12 cruise ships. The company boasts revenues of €20.1 Billion in turnover and an operating result of €1.069 Billion. The TUI Group’s share is listed on the London Stock Exchange in the FTSE index and in the regulated market of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

The TUI group is an equal share partner of Aitken Spence Travels, the largest travel company in Sri Lanka. TUI enjoys a relationship of thirty five years with Aitken Spence, promoting Sri Lanka as a destination across a wide variety of source markets, especially in Europe. The partnership will be further strengthened with the commencement of planned charters from UK and Scandinavia, planned to start in the near future, along with the expected increase in arrivals from Germany and the Benelux region. The Lankan tourism industry will benefit greatly from these initiatives, adding traction to the tourism master plan of the country.

The TUI team is scheduled to meet the Prime Minister Hon. Ranil Wickramasinghe, the Minister of Tourism Hon. John Amarathunga and with other key tourism industry officials during their one-day stay.

The delegation will also make visit to 501-room RIU Ahungalla – a joint venture with Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings, which is currently under development. In addition, the TUI team will also visit other hotels that would be featured in its brochures. RIU Ahungalla once completed will be Sri Lanka’s largest beach hotel with 501 rooms. The hotel will offer a new segment of “all inclusive,” a first of its kind to Sri Lankan consumers and will extend its wings to its brand loyal customers travelling the globe. The TUI Charter operation will definitely generate more opportunities for other hotels to generate more business due to the increase in arrivals.

“TUI has continued to express interest in Sri Lanka as an important destination in the region. This historic visit is a result of a longstanding commitment and the growing openness in Sri Lanka. The overall increase of business from TUI will create opportunities for the growth of inbound numbers and the potential development of Sri Lanka’s tourism product that this visit may facilitate”, said Nalin Jayasundara, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Travels and a respected industry veteran.

As the country’s biggest tour operator, Aitken Spence Travels handles an annual volume of over 125,000 inbound tourists, and continuously strives to contribute to the growth of inbound volumes to the country.

A Match Made in Travel Heaven

12 Apr

An approachable, easy-going man, Gehan has worked with Aitken Spence Travels his entire career and has played a significant role in the company’s growth. When he joined the company, just after school, the 18 year old, had no intention of staying in the travel business; this was to be a short stint of two years, before he started on his tertiary education. Three decades later, listening to Gehan speak of Aitken Spence Travels, the partnership with TUI and his career in the travel industry, one cannot help but think that had he followed his intended path, he would certainly have missed his calling!

Gehan recalls that “It was the late Mr. R. Sivaratnam,” (later to become Group Chairman), “who was instrumental in getting the TUI agency,” and when he joined the company, not only was the agency in its early days, TUI itself was still a young German company formed by a merger between four German tour operators and known more formally as Touristik Union International. By 1980, TUI was the market leader in Germany thereafter growing in leaps and bounds, to become the world’s largest integrated travel company. Now headquartered in the UK, TUI Travel Plc caters to over 30 million travellers a year and employs over 50,000 people worldwide.

Aitken Spence Travels became the agency for TUI whilst still in its infancy, having only been in existence less than two years, at the time but within four years, AST was the third largest operator in Sri Lanka.

The partnership with TUI, proved to be a prudent venture as each company grew separately and yet, together. For, whilst TUI was reaching beyond its German borders, into other German-speaking markets and later spreading its arms to become an international entity, the operators it was acquiring were already agencies under the AST umbrella. By the mid-90’s, 55% of AST’s business came through TUI, one way or another.

Long before TUI became the largest operator in the world, Gehan had foreseen growth in consolidation and knew that TUI would be a giant in the future. Wanting to leverage AST’s position as the “best agency” in the TUI group, negotiations were started to form a joint venture. The early negotiations, in the mid-90’s fell through, however and, in the meantime, TUI became an international company; still, Gehan did not let go of his vision for a joint venture.

In 2003, the environment in Sri Lanka being favourable, discussions were restarted and a joint venture agreement was reached on 1st April, 2004. The contract was for a sale of 50% of AST to TUI, a merger that was to be effected over a five year period.

Obvious pride shows in Gehan’s expression as he points out that the relationship with TUI was built on mutual trust and respect. TUI’s consideration that AST is a well-managed company was made patently obvious by the fact that the full sale went through in three years, instead of the allotted five year period, and this, whilst Sri Lanka was in the throes of a bloody civil war.

Since the 2004 union, business has grown from 30,000 to 60,000 inbound travellers, per year. The majority of the company’s business comes from outside its TUI associations and the company is consistently quoted as an example in TUI as being one of the best, both in management style and service.

AST’s marketing initiatives and procedures have been shared with other companies in the TUI family and, in 2008, the company was adjudged the Best Handling Agent by TUI Germany in the small destination category. The biggest testament, however, is to the confidence TUI has in AST’s management. Despite a shareholder’s agreement that entitles TUI to management involvement, the group chooses not to be directly involved. AST, in turn, takes this confidence seriously and, since the merger, the budgets set by TUI have been met and exceeded, year after year.

The benefits of the union with TUI have not stopped at Travels, however, as Aitken Spence Shipping has since acquired the agency for Hapag Lloyd, the fifth largest shipping agency in the world and a member of the TUI group.

With peace returning to the country, Gehan is optimistic, saying that “business can be grown exponentially as you cannot have a better partner than TUI to grow our business in all fronts in Tourism.” He recognises, however, that it is the professionalism and excellent teamwork of the staff that has helped make Aitken Spence Travels the number one inbound operator in Sri Lanka for the last five years and it has an excellent foundation that will ensure the company’s future growth.

Ace Magazine – 2010

Cat & Dog Café opens with early success

14 Nov

TUI and AWPA join forces to help stray animals and beach communities

TUI - Cat and Dog

A joint initiative between TUI and the Animals’ Welfare and Protection Association (AWPA) is helping to efficiently address the problems caused by stray dogs and cats in various hotels. With many of these animals having a tendency to scavenge kitchen refuse and disturb hotel guests, TUI and AWPA have begun to provide veterinary attention for the strays as well as installing strategic feeding points.


The various problems caused by stray animals were brought to the attention of TUI through their various travel representatives in Sri Lanka. Many hotel guests had expressed their concern about the proliferation of these strays and the effect it was having on their holidays. By enlisting the expertise of AWPA, TUI knew they were receiving the experience of a local partner with a distinguished track record in monitoring the welfare of animals. “We wanted to look after our guests without harming the animals,” explains Roger Zerter, resident Manager of TUI. “With AWPA, we have implemented a scheme which will hopefully catch on.”

After catching all the animals within the vicinity of a particular hotel, AWPA neuter and treat them for endo and ecto-parasites before releasing them on the hotel premises. Simultaneously, a Cat & Dog Café is set up in the hotel grounds, a long way from restaurants and swimming pools. The advantages of this approach are instantly tangible, as testified by the success of the scheme at Browns Beach Hotel and the Beach Hotel, the first hotels to receive the TUI Animal Friendly Award. Within a month of adopting the initiative, both hotels noticed a pronounced change in the behavior of their strays. The neutered animals had become a lot more settled, occupying an area with a reliable source of food-the Cat & Dog Café –and no longer disturbing hotel guests.

Ad image“TUI are making a great effort to educate hotel guests and local communities,” explains Mrs Hemantha Jayatilake, President of AWPA. “Hopefully, our joint initiative ca continue to save many animals and help people enjoy their holidays.”

2007 – Ace Magazine Issue 4