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TUI shifts destination focus over security concerns in Turkey and North Africa

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By Euronews  with Reuters
TUI shifts destination focus over security concerns in Turkey and North Africa

TUI, the world’s largest tour operator, said it is looking to new destinations as clients shy away from some countries over safety concerns.

It has seen a 40 percent drop in bookings to Turkey this summer after a suicide bomber killed 10 Germans in a busy Istanbul square in January. Turkey is especially popular with German tourists.

Tui expects to send only one million tourists there this year, compared with just under two million in a usual year.

The holiday group also said it is investing in Cape Verde and Bulgaria as alternatives to security-threatened North Africa after a sharp fall in bookings to Tunisia and Egypt in recent months.

Chief Executive Fritz Joussen said Bulgaria was comparable to Tunisia price-wise, while the group was also building hotels in Cape Verde.

“We are creating alternatives, but in the long term we believe demand will come back,” Joussen said, adding that he expected demand for Turkey to recover quickly.

By contrast its holidays in Spain were very popular, in particular the Canary Islands. “The Canaries is pretty much booked out,” said Joussen.

TUI reported a first-quarter underlying loss before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) of 101.7 million euros, against a loss of 104.8 million one year ago. Travel companies typically report a loss in the first quarter.

It also took a 42 million euro hit from a writedown of its stake in shipper Hapag-Lloyd after a drop in its share price.