Hannover, DEU, 13.02.2024, Hauptversammlung der TUI AG im HCC Hannover

Sebastian Ebel: “The anti-tourist protests are no threat to TUI”

TOURISM

Protests and demonstrations about over-tourism do not pose a threat to TUI‘s operations and results, as the group’s CEO Sebastian Ebel pointed out, speaking to reporters at the presentation of the second quarter results for the fiscal year 2024.

Referring to the protests in the Canary Islands, he said they were mainly about the negative impact of tourism on housing and rising costs and therefore would not affect TUI. He stressed, however, that TUI is taking the whole issue “very, very seriously”, with the company not being a problem but part of the solution.

“No threat, certainly no threat. The protests started because of the impact of tourism on housing and rising costs,” he said.

He stressed that destinations are not affected by organised tourism because, he said, every organised customer has a bed in a hotel and will not stay in a private house. While, TUI employees stay in apartments and houses built especially for them by the company.

It will be recalled that recently, thousands of people in the Canary Islands protested against the effects of mass tourism, demanding that the number of holidaymakers be limited. New demonstrations are planned by the people of Ibiza and Mallorca.

Mr Ebel said how TUI believes in “social sustainability”, which has always been part of its sustainability strategy, and that they work with local destination authorities in this context.

He stressed that sustainability is “of great importance to TUI and part of its DNA”.

According to him, the group is setting targets to reduce emissions and limit the use of plastics. In addition, he said, artificial intelligence technology, for example, which is already being used on cruises to reduce food waste, is now being introduced in hotels.

Mr Ebel pointed out that, TUI customers stay in the Canary Islands for ten to eleven nights, rather than three days.

“We explain what the differences are and we support all the measures taken to reduce the burden on the population. If the locals are happy, our customers are happy,” he said.

He also took the opportunity to criticise the media, adding that the protests in the Canary Islands were a bigger issue in the media than locally.

“Despite the protests, which highlighted problems such as rising property prices and resource consumption, the general mood towards tourists remained positive,” the TUI chief explained.

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