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TUI Suffers from Travel Slump

The world’s largest travel group, TUI, announced a loss of €200 million in its core unit during the first half of 2003. The company’s management announced on Thursday it is forecasting even worse full-year results in the face of unseasonably sluggish travel sales. During the spring the war in Iraq and the SARS outbreak led to a sharp decrease in travel bookings in the country, and that trend is continuing this summer. Many analysts believe demand in the sector will remain sluggish for the remainder of the year. TUI expects sales to climb again in 2004. Only the sale of TUI's energy unit Preussag allowed the company to boost profits overall to €408.2 million during the first half of this year, up from a loss of €117.2 million in 2002.