Kuoni puts tour operating business up for sale

Image copyright AP

Swiss-based travel operator Kuoni is selling its tour operating business to concentrate on supplying others in the travel industry,

The company currently runs tours in the UK through 35 branded shops and in John Lewis, as well as in Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Hong Kong, China and India.

The tours business employs 3,800 of its 8,000 employees worldwide.

Kuoni says all existing and future bookings will be honoured.

The company said the travel market environment was "likely to remain fast-changing, requiring travel companies to choose distinct development priorities".

It plans to focus on markets with what it sees as attractive, long-term growth potential such as Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

It added that by concentrating on providing services for other operators, it hoped to grow significantly faster than the global travel markets which, according to the World Tourism Organisation, would expand by 3.8% a year.

It said in a statement it "firmly believes that the outbound business can be better developed under new ownership".

It also said it would seek assurance about the continuation of the existing business locations and the continued employment of staff.

Kuoni was founded in 1906 and came to the UK 50 years ago. Its UK group includes the specialist businesses Carrier, Kirker, Voyage Jules Verne, CV Villas and Journeys of Distinction.

Kuoni Travel UK managing director Derek Jones said: "It's very much business as usual right now for all our staff and customers. We firmly believe that the outbound business can be better developed under new ownership and we'll be working closely with our colleagues in Switzerland to make sure we find the right buyers."

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