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TUI the first European tourism company in the Chinese growth market

TUI AG will be the first European tourism group to establish itself in China. An agreement was signed yesterday at the tourism fair in Shanghai on…

TUI AG will be the first European tourism group to establish itself in China. An agreement was signed yesterday at the tourism fair in Shanghai on setting up a joint venture company involving TUI AG, China Travel Service (CTS) and the third shareholder Martin Buese. TUI will hold a majority stake in this joint venture.

This creates a platform for the first time in the tourism and business travel segments for all TUI Group companies to develop China as a destination and to exploit the domestic travel market. The joint venture also opens up structures for harnessing the developing Chinese source market.

China is one of the most important future tourism markets, said Dr. Ralf Corsten, TUI Group executive director, at the signing ceremony. As Europe`s leading tourism group, the joint venture with CTS now gives us an optimal opportunity of co-operating with the leading tourism group in China. This means that we will also position ourselves as the leader of quality tourism in China.

The current very large demand for travel to as well as from China will ensure that the project enjoys an optimal start, adds Martin Buese, who will manage the new company direct from China as its executive board chairman. With our traditional high quality standards in the tour operating business, we will enhance the existing nationwide infrastructure and the know-how of our Chinese partner in an ideal way, adds Buese.

The People`s Republic of China has enjoyed a high level of macroeconomic growth for many years and this trend is forecast to continue in future. With a growth of 8 per cent per year, the travel market will expand over-proportionally. The World Tourism Organisation (WTO) forecasts that China will develop to become one of the most popular destinations. Today World of TUI is already the market leader for European tour operator holidays to China with around 40,000 customers per year Group-wide.

Beijing-based CTS is one of the largest tourism organisations in China. It has around 1100 employees, and with approx. 810,000 customers in 2002 will generate a turnover of around Euro 158 million. CTS and its parent company the CTS Group are two of the most important companies in China and are directly administered by the central government. In addition to 17 hotels, the CTS Group also has a nationwide network of around 300 tourism offices. It was founded in 1949 and now operates on private sector lines.

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