Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Tour Operators

TUI Teams Up With National Geographic to Expand Small-Group Day Tours

4 months ago

European tour operator TUI’s tours and activities division, TUI Musement, has expanded its collaboration with National Geographic Expeditions, launching 40 new NatGeo Day Tours. 

Previously only available as part of a cruise itinerary package, travelers can now independently book a mix of one-day and half-day itineraries. According to a partnership update released by TUI, these NatGeo tours specialize in beach and city experiences in destinations like Barcelona, Cancun, Crete, Paphos, New York, Naples, and Tenerife.

The tours, led by National Geographic-trained guides, are conducted in small groups of about 8 to 15 people and follow the TUI groups’ Global Sustainable Tourism Council criteria, it said.

NatGeo tours include exploring Miró’s diverse artworks and creations in Barcelona, Spain, guided by architectural and art restoration specialists in the Homage to Miró experience. Another example is embarking on coral reef conservation with marine biologists and oceanographers in Cancun, Mexicoas part of the National Geographic Pristine Seas project in the Unveiling the Importance of Reef Restoration tour.      

An exclusive and educational sailing and snorkeling NatGeo tour to identify bleached corals and understand reef restoration and sustainable marine practices. Source: TUI Musement.

Peter Ulwahn, CEO of TUI Musement, previously shared TUI’s tours and activities strategy as a key growth sector with Skift. He noted that city destination experiences offered as shore excursions notably increased along with the group’s cruise sector revival, seeing a 69% year-on-year growth for TUI’s cruise products between April and June this year, compared to the same period in 2022.

The booking of TUI Collections in city destinations has seen a 90% increase year-on-year. From October 2022 to September 2023, TUI Musement facilitated over 1 million direct bookings, added Ulwahn.

“National Geographic Day Tours are once-in-a-lifetime experiences. These are carefully crafted tours that tell stories of their destinations, honoring the National Geographic legacy and providing top quality, authentic, local experiences,” said Ulwahn.

Tour Operators

Musement Co-founder Claudio Bellinzona Leaves TUI

5 months ago

The co-founder of Musement, Claudio Bellinzona, is leaving TUI Musement. He will be taking on an advisory role with the tours and activities arm of Europe’s leading tour operator.

The company confirmed Bellinzona’s exit as chief supply officer and confirmed a new tours and activities commercial team, “focused on strategic business to business partners,” to be headed up by Nishank Gopalkrishnan, previously TUI Musement chief business officer and the team’s newly appointed as chief commercial officer.

Bellinzona leaves TUI five years after it acquired the Milan-based tours and activities startup in 2018. Peter Ulwahn, CEO of TUI Musement, confirmed Bellinzona will continue working with the TUI Musement leadership team on “various new growth opportunities.” as he commended his impact on TUI Musement’s recovery post-pandemic as well as the completed integration of Musement into TUI.

The unification of TUI Musement’s partnerships under one commercial team comes as the division generates 50% of the business’ revenues through distribution partnerships that include OTAs like Booking.com and airlines and hotels. The commercial team’s portfolio development, through API and white-label distribution, will be for TUI Collections, the company’s branded experiences, and third-party experiences.

Tour Operators

Tours and Activities Companies Launch Standards Association

1 year ago

Nearly three dozen tours and activities operators, reservation systems, and distributors debuted a non-profit association geared to formulate connectivity standards.

Source: Reuters

The 501c3 association, Open Connectivity for Tours, Activities & Attractions intends to promote an open source specification “to enable reservation and ticketing system providers and tour, activity and attraction ticket sellers to connect their systems for more efficient distribution,” the group announced Tuesday.

Founding members of the group include Arival, Checkfront, Gateway Ticketing Systems, Go City, Holibob, Peek, Tiqets, TUI Musement, Ventrata, Xola and Zaui.

Several major booking platforms, including Viator, GetYourGuide, Klook, Booking.com and Expedia weren’t part of the launch announcement.