International tourism and holiday company TUI Group has announced plans to sell its Specialist Group including sailing charter company Sunsail, but holidays not affected

TUI Group, the tourism and travel holiday specialist, has announced plans to sell its UK-based Specialist Group, which offers adventure and education holidays. Sunsail, the popular sailing charter holiday company is part of this group. Current and future holiday bookings will remain unaffected and it is not anticipated that a sale will be completed before winter 2017.




In a statement, a TUI Group spokesman explained:

Following the first successful step through of the sale of Hotelbeds Group in the first half of 2015/16, the Group intends to dispose the Specialist Group. The segment bundles the activities of specialist travel companies and had been managed as an independent unit by Will Waggott since the merger of TUI AG and TUI Travel PLC at the end of 2014.

The disposal of the Specialist Group portfolio is intended to happen in one transaction with the exception of two brands. Crystal Ski and Thomson Lakes & Mountains will not be sold and instead they will be transferred to the business in the UK and Ireland with immediate effect. Both Crystal Ski and Thomson Lakes & Mountains have strong synergies and vertical integration with the core Tourism business. Both companies play an important role in utilising our British aircraft fleet in particular during the winter months, and therefore create synergy potential that other specialist businesses do not have.

Will Waggott, as Member of the Executive Board of TUI Group responsible for the Specialist Group, together with his team has successfully and independently managed and further developed the unit in the past months. He will lead the disposal process of the Specialist Group.

British Virgin Islands

Our Sunsail 444 Let It Go lies alongside in Wickham’s Cay II, waiting to take us away

Fritz Joussen, TUI Group CEO said:

‘The Specialist Group is a great collection of more than 50 brands and successful companies. However, there is little vertical integration with the core Tourism businesses. In addition, the potential impact on profitability and the large amount of brands are strong strategic arguments not to combine the portfolio under the TUI brand. Therefore, we believe that a disposal of Specialist Group in one transaction is the best way to maximise value from these businesses for TUI’s shareholders. It will also enable us to quickly focus on the strategic imperatives outlined and strengthen TUI and its international competitiveness.’


Who wouldn’t want to go sailing here?

Sunsail general manager Scott Farquharson, commented:

Sunsail (and The Moorings) are part of this group. It is business as usual for all our customers and colleagues. Sunsail and the other brands in the Specialist Group (now known as Travelopia) were originally independently run and the last few years have been about collaborating with TUI as we all worked towards creating the largest global travel business.

We know that our customers come first – and we also know that they are fundamentally different to TUI’s core Tourism customers.  Therefore this sale is an excellent opportunity for us to take Sunsail forward through our already growing fleet and expanding our holiday choices further for our customers. We are all confident that this is a positive move for Sunsail.  And, of course, all existing and future bookings are secure, as we are still part of TUI for the time being.

For the majority of us, our day to day job will continue as normal, however, in the long run, this will impact some individuals. HR will work with those to mitigate any impact as much as possible.  We believe that this is a really exciting time for the Specialist Group brands and we hope this will create even further opportunities down the line.