No longer content with its Europe stronghold, giant tour operator TUI now wants to tap China and India as new source markets for its hotel and cruise ship business in South-east Asia in the next five years.
Disclosing the company's 2022 strategy to TTG Asia, Friedrich Joussen, CEO of TUI Group, wants to replicate the success the company has made in the Caribbean by targeting Chinese and Indian customers as new source markets to bring into South-east Asia.
Joussen: China and India could supply one million visitors by 2022
These new markets are expected to contribute a million customers and with a revenue of one billion euros (US$1.1 billion) by 2022, Joussen shared. TUI currently brings about 200,000 customers, mostly Europeans, to Thailand each year.
Thailand, Vietnam, the Maldives, Mauritius and Sri Lanka have been identified as the five main destinations. TUI Group will work with Chinese and Indian charter flight operators for its South-east Asian packages.
Seeing good potential in Thailand, Joussen had spoken with Thai tourism minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul about TUI's business master plan for the country, where he believes cruise tourism will be a key contributor.
But Thailand needs better cruise infrastructure to attract more cruise ships and offer attractive itineraries, he pointed out. “Thailand is a major cruise destination so we would like to see more ports. We also put two more ships into South-east Asia next year.
“We have (identified) more than 20 potential areas, including Thailand where we could build hotels," said Joussen. "We are now looking for new plots and partners in order to create more capacities."