When Peter Rothwell talked to the Financial Times last year in his first interview as Kuoni’s chief executive, he revealed that the Swiss travel group’s business scenarios envisaged sales falling between zero and 20 per cent in 2009.
“But I don’t think it will be that bad,” he added.
Almost 12 months and the drop has been every bit as dire as feared. Financial crises, currency upheavals and swine flu have taken their toll. Not even Kuoni’s redoubtable position as a relatively upmarket operator – compared with Tui, Thomas Cook and privately owned Rewe, the European market leaders – has provided protection.
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