German tourism professionals are calling for transparency regarding the agreement between WSF and Certares that bougt FTI with its debts. FTI had received aid totaling €595 million from the WSF, of which only a small portion has apparently been repaid to date. In addition, the company's bank, Unicredit, had granted a loan totaling €280 million, which was guaranteed by the federal government and the Free State of Bavaria.

 When Germany's third-largest tour operator, FTI, faced financial difficulties, it was sold to the US-based investment fund Certares, along with its debts, for a symbolic fee of 1 euro. Subsequent reports in the media suggested that Certares had assumed FTI's debts, following an agreement between Certares and the Economic Stabilization Fund.

However, German tourism professionals are demanding that the details of the agreement between Certares and WSF. While it's been stated that a 'legally compliant' agreement was reached between WSF and Certares, executives from rival companies speaking at a tourism summit organized by the German Tourism Industry Association (BTW) in Berlin are demanding transparency regarding the agreement.

Although no official statement has been made, market participants believe that WSF has imposed at least a 50% reduction in FTI's debts to Certares. Ingo Burmester, CEO of Germany's second-largest travel group, Dertour Group, noted the predominance of medium-sized companies in the tourism sector and highlighted the positive aspect of FTI's stabilization. Burmester said, "This unrest is harmful to everyone," adding, "But there's something that makes me suspicious. If a deal has been reached on state aid, transparency should be provided regarding what it entails and the new ownership structure of the company."

Bernd Bauer, CEO of Discover Airlines, a subsidiary of Lufthansa, also emphasizes the importance of transparency. Bauer asserts that transparency in how the decision was made would be advantageous. He notes that like other tour operators, FTI is a partner of Lufthansa.

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Denis Hüttig, from Steigenberger's parent company World International, acknowledges the positive impact of FTI's financial security for the sector but insists on more transparency regarding the agreement between Certares and WSF.

Source: fvw/Travel Talk

Editor: Haber Merkezi