TUI Travel is aiming to drive more business to Thailand this year, following the roll-out of its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Europe’s largest leisure travel company revealed today that it will launch the first ever direct flights between London and Phuket later this year, using the new B787. It will also commence Dreamliner flights to Phuket from two Scandinavian cities – Stockholm and Copenhagen – as TUI Nordic aims to boost its presence in the Thai market.
Speaking at a press conference at the Centara Grand Bangkok at CentralWorld, TUI’s top executives, led by CEO Peter Long, outlined the company’s plans for Thailand.
“We are very excited by the opportunities we have in bringing more guests to Thailand,” Long said, adding that as a destination, Thailand offers broad appeal “to couples, groups and families alike”.
Henrik Norlin, CEO of TUI Nordic, which takes 110,000 holidaymakers from Scandinavia to Thailand each year, expanded on Thailand’s changing demographics. “We have changed perceptions of Thailand on the Nordic region from a backpacker destination to a place for families. We have also turned it into a destination for repeat business,” Norlin said.
As a result, TUI Nordic will upgrade its direct Copenhagen-Phuket and Stockholm-Phuket charter flights from a B767 to the new B787 from late October 2013.
Then the following month, TUI will commence its first direct services to Phuket from London’s Gatwick airport. Garry Wilson, TUI’s managing director of purchasing, revealed that the company already has 7,000 bookings for the first year and added that his company would consider direct charters from other UK airports in the future, including Manchester.
“We always look for multiple departure points and the next obvious choice would be Manchester,” Wilson told Travel Daily.
Meanwhile, Christian Clemens, CEO of TUI Germany, said he was looking into the possibility of launching direct flights between Germany and Thailand “within two years”. TUI currently sends 90,000 German tourists to Thailand each year.
TUI Travel will take delivery of its first four Dreamliners in 2013, with a further nine arriving by 2015. Other destinations being served by the new aircraft will include Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean.