Tourism growth “will prevail” over security threats from terrorism, Tui Group chief executive Fritz Joussen has insisted.
Tui returned to Tunisia from the UK last week for the first time since the massacre of 38 people, including 30 Tui UK customers, in Sousse in June 2015 and Joussen said: “Sousse was an incredible tragedy. These are scenes you do not forget.”
Speaking at the release of Tui half-year results in Hamburg on Wednesday, Joussen said: “Terrorism is not only an issue for tourism. You see it in major cities. It is horrific.
“Each incident is one too many, but it is something societies have to live with. The judgment about security is a state judgment.”
However, Joussen said: “Tourism grew faster than [global] GDP for 17 years. People don’t give up travelling and I believe this trend will prevail.”
He also suggested the Sousse tragedy “made clear that one of the differentiators for a tour operator is that you have an obligation to care for your customers.
“In the process [inquest] in the UK, the judge said very clearly that we fulfilled our duties and more.”
The coroner at the UK inquest into the deaths in January last year had described Tunisian police response to the Sousse attack as “at best shambolic”.
‘Resilience through Tourism’ is the subject of a summit in Jordan in June, supported by leading global associations including the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), Pacific-Asia Travel Association (PATA) and international development agency USAID.
PATA chief executive Mario Hardy, who will address the summit, said this week: “The link between perceptions of safety and travel are obvious.”
But commenting on the release of the PATA Annual Tourism Monitor, which showed in increase in arrivals to the region of 35 million in 2017, Hardy said: “What is also becoming clearer is the link between public policy and destination choice.
“The need for continued political harmony is ever more important if our sector is to flourish equally across destinations.”
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