Belfast Telegraph

Tour firm TUI reports £186m half-year pre-tax loss

Tour operator TUI has reported a half year pre-tax loss of 236.9 million euro (£186 million), an improvement on last year's 283.1 million euro (£223 million) loss, as it gears up to sell its outdoor package provider in the UK.

Europe's biggest tour operator said that it will offload the Specialist Group, which sells sailing breaks in the UK, and follows on from last month's announcement of the disposal of Hotelbeds Group for 1.2 billion euro (£945 million).

Chief executive Fritz Joussen said: "Step by step, we continue to grow, invest and expand our position as the world's number one tourism group.

"Having delivered the best result in the history of our company in 2014/15, we have also started off very well into the current financial year."

Turnover at TUI grew 2.7% to 6.79 billion euro (£5.3 billion) in the period.

Mr Joussen flagged a "challenging market environment", adding that TUI's future is to be "a group focused fully on tourism".

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said: "It's been a difficult year to date so far for the travel and leisure sector buffeted by industrial unrest, terrorism concerns as well as the Zika virus in South America, which have offset the boost delivered by lower fuels costs.

"Half-year results for TUI have merely served to reinforce the challenges not only facing the European travel sector, but the travel sector as a whole over the remainder of the year."