Germany-based DER Touristik Group, one of the largest tourism companies in the world, has concluded this month the acquisition of Travel Brands, operated by Eurolines in Romania. The transaction has been authorized by the Romanian Competition Council and concluded as planned, the DER Touristik management announced in a press conference in Bucharest on Wednesday.
The information that Eurolines Group, controlled by Romanian entrepreneur Dragos Anastasiu, is selling its tourism services – tour-operator, retail, business travel and incoming – to DER Touristik Group, part of the German group Rewe, was released three months ago.
“Travel Brands is a top company, and all those 400 employees that we are taking over are an asset for our activities and plans in Eastern Europe. We are very motivated when it comes to realigning the idea of holiday on the Romanian market. We are fully endorsing them with all our Group’s strength and resources. Using the Dertour brand both on retail and also for the touroperating will definitely consolidate our position on the local travel market”, said Soren Hartmann, CEO DER Touristik Group.
Hartmann praised Travel Brands’ successful business story, while pledging to successfully implement the Dertour brand on the local market, by developing customised strategies for our country.
The DER Touristik CEO also praised Romania’s growing potential on tourism. “We simply believe in Romania, as the unemployment is going down and the average salary is up, people will start traveling even more. Romania is one of the most interesting countries in Europe on tourism development”, Hartmann stated.
“I think it’s no small thing when a company with a EUR 7 billion turnover comes and gives credit and declares its confidence in the Romanian tourism. The fact that DER Touristik choose us as <bride. can only by a great honour and an acknowledgment of our team’s work over the past 20 years and so. It thinks it’s a happy <marriage> and what made the difference from other potential buyers has been the personal interest showed by the DER Touristik management”, said Eurolines President Dragos Anastasiu, who yet denied to reveal the value of the transaction, arguing it will remain confidential, according to the contract’s terms.
Anastasiu will withdraw from the managing board and the shareholding of DER Touristik Romania, and will only be part of an Advisory Board to be created soon.
“So, I suppose I am the happy husband now”, replied Soren Hartmann as a spirit of joke, adding that “all discussions had so far went well. I believe in Romania not only in terms of outgoing business, we also bought an incoming business here.
We believe Romania is a destination, we are serving from 16 different countries, so we can bring tourists all over the world. I think Romania is like a beautiful cake with nice ingredients, we only have to decorate it, we have to see where are the nicest spots here and tell the people worldwide about them. We can be successful in Romania’s incoming business as well.”
Cosmin Marinof, CEO Travel Brands, who will also take over the top position of the new Dertour Romania, has also emphasized the German group’s interest to focus on incoming business as well, not only on outgoing.
“For the moment we are focusing on the outgoing business, but we don’t forget the incoming either.
We want to also do the incoming business, to promote Romania, our country has so much to offer, we see as a first step to develop special products from Romania, such as round trips to Transylvania, and Danube Delta, which are unique products, that are not found anywhere else in Europe, and also tours to cities. Many tourists who visited Romania say “Oh, but I did not know Romania is like this”. So, their feedback is a positive one.
Promotion is what Romania needs, we have 4 million Romanians outside, if each of them talked in good terms about Romania we would have at least 4 M foreign tourists visiting us.
We have hotels, we don’t have tourists, if we have more tourists we’ll build more hotels. There a lot of countries that did not have roads infrastructure, Sri Lanka for instance, but they have, or at least, they had tourists.
For 2020 there are no immediate plans for incoming, we’ll come up though with a four-year strategy soon,” Marinof exclusively told Romania Journal.
Marinof also announced that an impressive marketing budget will be invested in rebranding and communication as a long-term development plan.
The tour operator’s key plans are encompassing 19 operated destinations from seven cities in Romania, mainly in the Mediterranean countries, Turkey, Greece, Spain, Cyprus, but also Egypt, with an estimated 7 pc price discount.
On short-term, Dertour will open new agencies, in Sibiu for instance on November 15, and others in Ploiesti, Targoviste, and in AFI Cotroceni mall in Bucharest in the upcoming period.
Dragos Anastasiu revealed on the other hand that Dertour will operate its own charters to Turkey, Egypt with SunExpress, an airline originating from a Turkish Airlines/Lufthansa joint venture.