TUI goes adults-only in the Mediterranean

TUI Group headquarters. Photo credit: TUI Group

German travel and tourism company TUI Group is planning further expansion into the Mediterranean region, with 15 of its own-brand hotels, 12 of which will be the adults-only Sensimar flag.

The decision marks the expansion of adults-only and all-inclusive resorts into the region, after their popularization in Mexico and the Caribbean, as TUI seeks to broaden its offering. 

TUI described Sensimar as a concept “for couples who appreciate tranquility and relaxation and are traveling without children.” The four- to five-star hotels are in beach locations and offer guests “a low-key sports and entertainment program.” The portfolio includes 49 additional hotels in 13 countries.

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The group has sought to diversify its holiday offerings and destinations as part of a wider strategy to reduce volatility in a seasonal business. Earlier this year TUI CEO Fritz Joussen told analysts on the group’s first-quarter earnings call: “Our strategy is successful. Our focus is on hotels and cruises. This makes TUI more profitable and we now generate our earnings more evenly across 12 months.”

Importing concepts from the Caribbean has been a theme this year, with May seeing Apple Leisure bring AMResorts’ brands to Europe through a deal with Spain’s NH Hotel Group. The agreement marked the next phase of a long-standing partnership between AMResorts’ and NH that began in 2011, when the companies established a similar model to open three resorts in the Dominican Republic.

Apple's AMResorts division will oversee management and sales of the hotels, while NH will maintain operational management. The deal will see the companies jointly operating a number of beachfront resorts located in Spain, including the introduction of the all-inclusive Amigo Hotels & Resorts brand. 

Javier Coll, EVP and chief strategy officer, Apple Leisure Group, said, “As the second most-visited country in the world in 2017, the time was right to expand our footprint across the Atlantic Ocean and into Europe, beginning in Spain. Through this partnership, NH Hotel Group is helping us enter the most competitive and popular destinations in this country, as well as in the rest of the Mediterranean markets, such as Italy, where NH has a strong presence.”

Since the deal was signed, observers considered that the takeover of NH Hotels Group by Minor International put the deal in question. At the same time, Grupo Inversor Hesperia moved four of its properties from NH Hotel Group, announcing a strategic alliance with Apple Leisure Group to operate its four resorts in Spain with the AMResorts brands, giving the flags, including Amigo, their launch in the Mediterranean. 

Other chain's are getting into the arena as well. Hilton’s deal last month with Playa Hotels & Resorts will see it add 10 all-inclusive resorts to its portfolio by 2025. Chris Nassetta, the chain’s president and CEO, said: “Together we are responding to our shared guests, who are seeking attractive resort offerings.” 

Katherine Doggrell is an editor at Hotel Analyst, the U.K.-based news analysis service for hotel investors