Bankruptcy of a major German tour operator affects many travellers to and in Spain

Tourists in the Canary Islands particularly affected

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FTI
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The German FTI Group, the third largest tour operator in Europe, has filed for bankruptcy. This brings back memories of the collapse of Thomas Cook in September 2019. The parent company, FTI Touristik GmbH, has filed a petition for insolvency with the Munich District Court.

For the time being, only the tour operator brand FTI Touristik is directly affected by this decision. Later, other companies within the group will also submit similar applications. Windrose Finest Travel GmbH, with the luxury brand Windrose, will continue its activities.

Disappointing results

According to the company management, it was necessary to file for bankruptcy due to an increased liquidity need that could no longer be met. Despite the announcement of an investor consortium in April 2024, booking figures fell far short of expectations. Many suppliers also demanded advance payments, which further increased the financial pressure.

Consequences for travellers

FTI is currently working hard to ensure that trips already started can be completed as planned. Trips that have not yet started will probably not be able to continue or only partially. The announcement of the bankruptcy comes at the start of the high season, which puts many reservations at risk. There is great uncertainty, especially among travellers who are already on their way or whose journey has already started. The situation is still unclear for June, when the summer holidays start. Three major German tour operators – TUI Group, DER Touristik and Schauinsland-Reisen – have already signed up to take over the outstanding reservations.

Uncertainty about payments

Pedro Marín, president of the Hotel Association of Playa de Palma, emphasises that the situation remains uncertain, especially regarding the payments still owed by FTI to Sidetours. He suggests that hotels may only accept customers if payment is made in advance.

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Response from the hotels

The hotel industry in Spain is waiting to see how Sidetours and the German government will respond. It is expected that one of the three major tour operators will take over responsibility for the reservations. That entails both debt and customer loyalty. However, hotel operators want guarantees that they will be paid for these reservations they take over.

Outlook for FTI Group

Earlier this year, on March 23, FTI Group sent a letter to hoteliers promising to normalise their arrears. Responsibility for this was entrusted to Sabine Dorn-Aglagul. This action was intended to instill confidence. Nevertheless, the situation remains uncertain and all involved are closely monitoring developments.

Major consequences for the Canary Islands

Because FTI managed a significant part of the tourist activities in the Canary Islands, the bankruptcy could affect 40,000 travellers there and with it 1,500 jobs in the sector on the archipelago. FTI Group had a significant economic footprint in the region, with investments in around 20 hotels and an impact of €800 million last year.

According to Hosteltur, airlines that worked for FTI have already promised to fly back affected travellers. Although passengers who have booked a package holiday with FTI Touristik that has now been cancelled can no longer travel to their holiday destination.

Helpline and website

The company has set up a website to support affected travellers as well as a hotline (0049 89 / 710 45 14 98) where questions are answered. The company is working on a plan to inform travellers and take the necessary measures. The government of the Canary Islands is also looking at how it can help affected travellers.

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