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Late November 2014Issue 217The online magazine for inbound tour industry reaching 8 million escorted visitors into and around EuropeChristmas Markets • Two new locations in Central London 2015 - see page 17harriet reSignS from thomaS CookThomas Cook said Harriet Green had left with immediate effect and that Peter Fankhauser, the Chief Operating Officer, had taken over. Fankhauser, who has worked at Thomas Cook for 13 years, sur- vived Green’s management cull and was promoted to operations chief a year ago.Thomas Cook’s Chairman, Frank Meysman, said Green had left because the com- pany needed someone with more travel industry experience. He said the board was unanimous that it was the right time for her to hand over to Fankhauser and that the company did not look at other candidates.Green’s sudden departure shocked the City as Thomas Cook warned that trading hadbecome more difficult and growth would be slower in the current financial year. Business in Germany has weakened as consumer confidence has dropped in Europe’s biggest economy and the UK winter programme failed to fill increased capacity.More than £400m was wiped off Thomas Cook’s market value after the tour operator stunned investors by announcing the abrupt departure of Harriet Green, the Chief Execu- tive credited with bringing the tour operator back from the brink of bankruptcy.Thomas Cook shares plunged 22% to 107p, sending its market value down from more than £2bn to £1.56bn. Source - ReutersSki holiday woeSSki holiday could be in for a dramatic change of location. With just a couple of weeksnotice,the Austrianparliament has approved a new ruling that ensures all employees must be paid a minimum wage of approximately €1,000 (£800) a month. Until this ruling most British companies paid their staff lower salaries, but com- pensated by providing accommodation, lift passes, food and other benefits. The new rulingwillmean asignificantincreasein the operating costs for British companies (estimated increase approx. 46 percent in staff costs). Last season a total of 425,178 tourists from the UK went skiing in Austria.Fines of up to €10,000 (around £8,000) per employee can be incurred if they do not adhere to the amended legislation, rising to €20,000 (around £16,000) for more than three employees or if it is a recurring violation. Many Operators have already sold theirHarriet Greenwinter packages, will the burden of ad- ditional costs have to be added to prices for those still to book?The new EU legislation will apply to all mem- berstatesbyJuly2016-thatforeign-based firms must pay their staff the same wages as local companies.Ski Operators have also been badly hit by a change in the Swiss law. Chalet staff in Switzerland were previously employed under a British contract, but the new law means they must be employed on a Swiss contract andpaidaminimumwageof3,407CHF (£2,238) a month - the equivalent of £34,000 per annum. The average UK salary is £26,500.The ruling was introduced last year but tour operators were granted a stay of execution last season, with the changes only coming into effect this season. One of the UK’s biggest operators, Inghams, has closed all but one chalet in Switzerland, while its sister companies, Ski Total and Esprit Ski, have left altogether.St. Antonrealize your DREAMS opening HOURSDaily open from 8.00 am until 6.30 pm, June – August until 7.30 pm November 1 and 2, December 25 and 26 closed6020 Innsbruck · Austria · Herzog-Friedrich-Straße 39 Tel. +43 (0)512 573 100 · www.swarovski.com/innsbruck

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