TUI Marine to Trim Tortola fleet  –  The ongoing implosion in the US economy has led charter giant TUI Marine to drastically trim its BVI fleet.

Among the Moorings, Sunsail, Footloose, Moorings Power and Moorings Signature brands, TUI has around 400 yachts in the water at the Tortola base. The chances of filling these boats with paying customers is slim to none in the near future, so TUI's yield management specialists have undertaken a programme of reduction by attrition.

TUI's owner contracts generally have a life span of around five years, and as yachts reach the end of that cycle they are replaced in the fleet by new ones, and the owners are free to keep the boat, sell it or move it into another charter fleet. This year, as yachts are phased out of the fleet, they won't be replaced by newer models.


Franck Bauguil, vice president for Yacht Ownership and Sales at TUI Marine's Clearwater, Florida base, told YG that TUI “looks at occupancy and revenue on a weekly basis. We have told owners worldwide that if they choose to phase their boat out of the ownership programme, they are welcome to do so.”  Since most of the TUI fleet is owned by individuals, owners “are very important to us,” Bauguil said. “We look at our owners as shareholders, and we would never jeopardise that relationship.”

Bauguil emphasized that the reductions would affect the BVI fleet more than others, since the other bases around the world are performing somewhat better. In particular, Bauguil mentioned the Mediterranean as looking relatively strong this year. “The Med is mostly Sunsail customers who tend to come from the UK and Europe, places which don't seem to be so badly affected by the economic downturn as the US,” he said.

The reductions are expected to total around 60 or 70 boats, Bauguil said.