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经济学人:糟糕的假期

2014-03-05    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Business 商业

Tour operators 旅游公司

Horrible holidays 糟糕的假期

The holiday business is in trouble. Firms are merging like Brits in Benidorm
旅游业身陷困境,各公司正忙于兼并

EUROPE'S travel industry has had four terrible years: a recession, an Icelandic volcano, unrest in the Middle East, costly oil, a weak dollar and a widespread sense of malaise. People want to get away from it all, but worry that they can't afford to.
欧洲的旅游行业已经经历了四年的低谷:经济衰退、冰岛火山喷发、中东骚乱、昂贵的油价、贬值的美元以及普遍疲软的经济。人们想要摆脱这些,却又担心无力承担。

Airlines, hotels and cruise ships have all suffered, but the worst-hit are the tour operators. To survive, they have merged and cut costs. In 2007 Thomas Cook, a German-owned travel firm, took over MyTravel, a British rival, to create Europe's second-biggest package-tour firm. A couple of months later Hanover-based TUI, Europe's biggest travel company, merged its travel business with First Choice, another British package-holiday company, to create TUI Travel, a company based in London and listed on the London Stock Exchange. Both package-holiday giants cut capacity by as much as 25% in the following years.
航空公司,酒店以及度假巡游船都受到了牵连,但受影响最大的还是旅游公司。他们通过兼并和削减开支来维持生存。德国的Thomas Cook旅游公司在2007年收购了其英国的竞争对手My Travel,从而组建了欧洲第二大的旅游服务公司。几个月后,欧洲最大的旅游公司,总部位于汉诺威的途易与英国的另一家旅游服务公司 First Choice合并了其旅游业务,从而成立了途易旅游。途易旅游的总部位于伦敦,并于伦敦证交所上市。两家旅游服务巨头在接下来的几年里缩小规模高达25%。

Yet mergers and downsizing have provided only temporary relief. On August 3rd Holidays 4 UK, a tour operator specialising in trips to Turkey, went bankrupt, leaving 12,800 holidaymakers stranded. On the same day, Manny Fontenla-Novoa, the boss of Thomas Cook, was forced out of his job after three profit warnings in 12 months. His replacement will have a big job on his hands. In the nine months to June, Thomas Cook lost $326.1m before tax.
然而整合与缩小规模只是缓兵之计。八月三日,只提供土耳其旅行服务的旅游公司Holidays 4 UK宣布破产,造成了12,800名度假者的滞留。就在同一天,托马斯?库克的老板Manny Fontenla-Novoa在公司接到了12个月来的第三个利润预警后被迫离职。摆在他继任者面前的将是一项艰苦的工作。从去年九月到今年六月的九个月期间托马斯?库克的税前损失达3.261亿美元。

TUI Travel is perking up a bit. Its pre-tax losses fell to £355m ($424m) in the nine months to June, from £563m for the same period last year. On August 10th it reported a 57% increase in its "underlying operating profits", a figure that excludes planeloads of supposedly one-off costs.
不过途易旅游正逐步恢复活力。它从去年同期5.63亿英镑的税前损失降到六月来的3.55亿英镑(4.24亿美元)。八月十号它宣布其"实际营业利润"增长了57%,这一数据还不包括大量可能的一次性花费。

TUI Travel has several advantages. It is less centralised than Thomas Cook, more flexible and better managed. It sells fewer holidays in the turbulent Middle East. And its margins are buoyed by its focus on fancy holidays rather than bargain booze-ups on beery beaches.
途易旅游还是有些优势的。它不像托马斯?库克那样高度集中化,相比之下更加灵活,管理得也更好。它在政局不稳的中东地区组织的线路并不多。利润来自于倍受重视的精品套餐路线,而不是便宜的沙滩啤酒派对。

Even so, a spokeswoman for TUI Travel admits that the high oil price is a worry. TUI Travel owns 143 aircraft. The company was fully hedged for oil-price volatility this year but next year it is expecting a 30% increase in its fuel bill. Its French business is suffering because of political unrest in France's former African colonies, which are a favourite destination for French holidaymakers. TUI Travel is now planning to merge its French operations to create one brand in the hope that this will turn around its weakest unit.
尽管如此,途易旅游的发言人承认昂贵的油价的确令人担忧。途易旅游拥有143架飞机。今年该公司采取了严密的措施以防油价动荡,但明年它的燃油预算预计将增长30%。它在法国的业务也因原法属非洲殖民地的政治动荡而遭受了不小的损失,而这些地区恰恰是法国人热衷的度假胜地。途易旅游现在正计划把旗下的法国业务合并成一个品牌,希望以此来拯救那些经营惨淡的分支。

The traditional tour operators' business model is out of date, says Jamie Rollo of Morgan Stanley, a bank. Their fixed costs are high. They book flights and rooms months in advance, and still have to pay for them even if a volcano or terrorist forces travellers to cancel. And although they now do a lot of business online, they struggle to compete with cheaper online-only firms such as Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz.
"传统旅游公司的运营模式已经过时了,"摩根史坦利投资银行的杰米?罗洛说道,"他们的固有成本很高。他们需要提前几个月预定机票和房间,并且即使火山喷发或是恐怖袭击导致旅行取消他们也仍需支付这些费用。尽管现在他们尽管现在他们很多业务在网上进行,但却很难与那些如Expedia,Travelocity以及Orbit等这些更加便宜且只做网上服务的旅游公司相匹敌。

Further consolidation is likely. Germany's package-tour market is still fragmented and lucrative, so REWE Touristik and others might soon be snapped up. TUI Travel and Thomas Cook might even merge, creating a giant and saving plenty of money. Alternatively, one of these two big boys might marry a low-cost airline, linking cheap flights with cheap beds.
进一步的整合是可能的。德国的旅游服务市场仍然较为零散并十分有利可图,所以像REWE Touristik一类的旅游公司很快就会变得十分抢手。途易旅游和托马斯?库克甚至可能合并,以成为行业巨头并进一步节省资金。或者,这两个大块头之一会兼并一家低成本的航空公司,形成一条完整的低价住宿低价机票产业链。

In the short run Thomas Cook's new boss will have to improve the company's dire finances. The firm is planning to sell assets worth £200m over the next six to 18 months, including some or all of its seven hotels. Its chief financial officer says that an equity issue is not on the cards, at least for now. He may have to change his mind. Holidays are supposed to be relaxing, but for the firms that provide them, they are anything but.
短期来看,托马斯?库克的新任老板首先要做的就是改善公司糟糕的财务状况。公司计划在接下来的6到18个月期间卖掉价值2亿英镑的资产,包括部分甚至全部其7家酒店.它的财务总监表示至少目前还不打算发行股票。他将来也许会改变主意。假期本应该是令人放松的,但对于那些提供这项服务的公司来说,情况就恰恰相反了。



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