First Choice (travel firm)

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First Choice
Founded1973; 46 years ago (1973)
HeadquartersLuton, England
Key people
Andrew Flintham (Managing Director)[1]
ProductsPackage holidays, cruise lines, hotels and resorts
ServicesTravel agency
ParentTUI Group

First Choice is a UK-based travel operator brand and subsidiary of TUI Group.


The company (originally named Owners Abroad) was founded in 1973, operating as a travel agent. It first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1982.

In 1987, it launched Air2000 and in 1990 it acquired Redwing, under the guidance of Howard Klein (Former CEO).

The company renamed as First Choice in 1994.[2]

In July 2005, First Choice Holidays purchased the Europe Express group of companies consisting of multi-channel distribution companies including: 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.[3]


In March 2007, the merger of the travel division of TUI AG with First Choice was announced.[4] The European Commission approved the merger on 4 June 2007, on the condition that the merged company sell Budget Travel in Ireland.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7]

The company confirmed in January 2013 that it had received a proposal from its parent to merge.[8] In May 2013, the chief executive of TUI AG ruled out a merger with TUI Travel.[9] 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "TUI UK Media Center". Archived from the original on 2015-09-29. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  2. ^ "Flight to the Sun: The Story of the Holiday Revolution - Roger Bray, Vladimir Raitz". Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  3. ^ "Europe Express & First Choice Holidays PLC Partnership. - Free Online Library". Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  4. ^ "Business | First Choice to tie up with TUI". BBC News. 2007-03-19. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  5. ^ "Business | First Choice-TUI merger cleared". BBC News. 2007-06-04. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  6. ^ "Thomson Airways Boeing 767-300ER for FSX". Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  7. ^ Joy, Samuel. "Thomson and First Choice to merge on high street". Marketing Week. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  8. ^ Thomas, Nathalie. "TUI Travel in merger talks with German parent company". Telegraph. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  9. ^ Reuters Editorial (2013-05-15). "TUI AG CEO says no plans for merger with TUI Travel | Reuters". Retrieved 2017-09-27.

External links[edit]