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David Schelp returns to TUI Group and will become Executive Board Member responsible for the global tour operator and airline business in 2024

David Schelp
David Schelp

After 34 years with TUI, Executive Board Member David Burling hands over the responsibility for Markets and Airlines at the turn of the year

David Schelp is returning to TUI and will become the new Executive Board Member responsible for the TUI’s tour operator and airline business (Market & Airlines) from January 2024. Hong Kong-born David Schelp already held management positions at TUI from 2002 to 2022, most recently as CEO of the global growth segment TUI Musement, which today operates in more than 100 countries. He knows TUI and the tourism sector very well, has worked in various countries and has an excellent international network. Before starting his career, he studied economics at the ESB Business School in Reutlingen and London.

In his time with TUI, Schelp has driven realignment and transformation in many areas and developed new growth areas for the Group. After assuming responsibility for TUI’s destination management and tour guide business as Managing Director in 2009, he strategically and commercially re-aligned the business segment for the future: Schelp played a key role in the acquisition of the Milan-based digital and travel tech start-up Musement in 2018. With Musement, TUI’s traditional destination services business became a leading international provider of activities, experiences and tours in holiday destinations worldwide. In 2022, David Schelp decided to pursue an entrepreneurial activity outside TUI and became co-partner and CEO of the tourism business Turbopass. He will step down from the management board of Turbopass on January 1st, 2024.

David Burling has been a Member of the TUI Executive Board since 2015 and has been responsible for the Group’s tour operators and airlines since then. Following the merger of TUI AG with the British TUI Travel Plc, David Burling played a central role in the integration of the two companies. He brought the Group’s tour operators and airlines closer together and reorganised them strategically. Under his leadership, TUI successfully expanded its position as the leading tour operator in its European markets. He also led TUI’s successful joint venture in Canada for many years. Before assuming responsibility at Group level in 2015, he spent four years (2011-2015) as Managing Director of TUI UK&I, the Group’s largest operating company next to TUI Germany. During this time, he led TUI UK&I to new sales and earnings strength and built up a highly differentiated product and destination portfolio including the launch of the Sensatori concept, the rapid growth in UK sales to RIU hotels and the development of new destinations like Cape Verde. Before assuming overall responsibility for TUI UK&I David Burling was New Product Development Director and then Chief Commercial Officer for the UK tour operator business from 1999 to 2011. During this time he also played a major part in the successful merger of the TUI owned Thomson tour operations with UK rival First Choice Holidays in 2007. David Burling started his long and successful TUI and tourism career 34 years ago in 1990 joining Thomson Holidays in the UK as a graduate trainee.

Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of TUI Group: “The Supervisory Board and I personally would like to thank David Burling for his great commitment and enormous achievements for TUI. He has shaped TUI’s tour operator business for several decades – first in the UK and then at international Group level. He is an internationally recognised leader with experience, integrity and an excellent track record. The tour operator business was hit hard by the pandemic. David Burling has made a key contribution to ensuring that TUI has come out of the pandemic in good shape. Thanks to his leadership the TUI tour operators are now back on a stable footing. David Burling has built up a powerful team that will now tackle the next stage of the transformation. David Schelp is the right manager for this challenge. He knows TUI and our industry and we know him. He has already worked closely with our CEO Sebastian Ebel in his previous TUI roles and built up the Holiday Experiences growth area with him before the pandemic. David Schelp has proven that he can drive transformation, develop new business and growth areas and lead them to commercial success.”

TUI Group CEO Sebastian Ebel said: “I would like to thank David Burling for the many years of excellent cooperation. In our nine years together on the Group Executive Board, I have got to know David as a very thoughtful, experienced and forward-looking colleague who has maneuvered our tour operators and airlines through difficult years and crises – always with a clear course. I would also like to thank him personally for his always reliable guidance and support. I wish him all the best for the future. In David Schelp, we are bringing back a colleague to TUI who knows the tourism sector and TUI inside out and who will be able to focus his energy on the growth of our tour operators and airlines from day one. During his time at TUI Musement, David Schelp has proven that he is capable of driving change and transformation. Together with the team of the Group Executive Committee, I look forward to working with him to further develop our tour operator and airline business. The direction is clear: more products, more customers, more growth and more profitability. We have reached good milestones by 2023, but there is still further to go.”

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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