First Choice (travel firm)
|Nick Longman (Managing Director)|
|Products||Package holidays, cruise lines, hotels and resorts|
First Choice is a UK-based travel operator brand and subsidiary of TUI Group.
In 1987, it launched Air2000 and in 1990 it acquired Redwing.
The company renamed as First Choice in 1994.
In July 2005, First Choice Holidays purchased the Europe Express group of companies consisting of multi-channel distribution companies including: go-today.com for direct to consumer vacation packages, E.E.I. Travel and Brian Moore International Tours (BMIT) with travel agent distribution, Travel Services Europe (TSE), the contracting division for hotels and travel services throughout Europe.
In March 2007, the merger of the travel division of TUI AG with First Choice was announced. The European Commission approved the merger on 4 June 2007, on the condition that the merged company sell Budget Travel in Ireland. The merged company, TUI Travel PLC, began operations in September 2007.
TUI and First Choice's in-house airlines, Thomsonfly and First Choice Airways, were brought together under the former's Air Operator's Certificate in May 2008, and the merged airline was rebranded as Thomson Airways in November 2008.
In October 2011 it was announced that under a two-year rebranding programme, the store estate would be rebranded as "Thomson featuring First Choice" to create a single travel agency brand; the First Choice branding and uniform will be phased out, and the First Choice name will be used for all-inclusive package holidays sold by the combined network.
The company confirmed in January 2013 that it had received a proposal from its parent to merge. In May 2013, the chief executive of TUI AG ruled out a merger with TUI Travel. In an about-face in June 2014 the two companies announced they had agreed terms on a merger. The merger was completed and TUI Travel was de-listed from the London Stock Exchange on 17 December 2014.
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