German travel market

Takeovers and insolvencies among specialist tour operators

Dieter Ruppert (left) wtih Thorsten Kleine (owner of Hajo Siewer Jet Tours)
Ruppert Brasil
Dieter Ruppert (left) wtih Thorsten Kleine (owner of Hajo Siewer Jet Tours)

German specialist tour operators Ruppert Brasil and Lotus Travel have new owners while insolvent firm H&H Touristik is being wound down and Polar-Kreuzfahrten has declared bankruptcy.

Consolidation among specialist tour operators in Germany is continuing with a wave of takeovers and insolvencies in the last few weeks.

Ruppert Brasil, a well-known tour operator specialising in Brazil tours, will be taken over by flight tickets company Hajo Siewer Jet Tours on June 1, enabling owner Dieter Ruppert to retire after 50 years in the tourism industry. Thorsten Kleine, owner of Hajo Siewer Jet Tours and a long-standing business partner, will take over all of the tour operator’s staff and its office in Munich. The deal should generate synergies between the two companies. Ruppert Brasil offers 300 different trips and tours in Latin America, from backpacker tours to luxury club holidays.

Fit Reisen Group, which focuses on health and wellness trips, has acquired Asia specialist Lotus Travel to expand its portfolio. Lotus Travel, whose founders Silvia and Horst Leibacher are retiring, is specialised in Ayurveda wellness holidays, yoga retreats, health resorts and cultural tours in Asia. Fit Reisen plans to retain all of the company’s staff and office in Munich.

“We will make the (Lotus Travel) products and expertise bookable for our travel agency partners and profile ourselves more strongly as partners who meet individual and complex travel wishes for Asia,” said Fit Reisen Group co-owner Jan Seifried. This is the fourth acquisition in four years for the group.

In contrast, H&H Touristik Group, which specialised in group trips and golfing holidays, is being wound down after declaring insolvency in February and failing to find a buyer. Some 3,000 trips scheduled for June 1 onwards have been cancelled and the company will stop trading in August, with the loss of 64 remaining jobs. H & H Touristik, including subsidiaries Gala Vital Reisen and Travel Direkt Deutschland, had turnover of €65 million and 84,000 customers in 2017/18.

Meanwhile, Fietz GmbH, operator of Polar-Kreuzfahrten, has declared insolvency and is trying to find a solution for booked holidays. The company, a specialist in expedition cruises, blamed the step on “substantial unacceptable conditions on ships used by us in the Artic and Antarctic”. More detailed information was not available.

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