SINGAPORE, 13 August 2020: One of Asia’s leading travel firms, Pacific World Hong Kong says it will cease operations by 14 September but the short letter to partners, 11 August, appeared to suggest wider closures in November could be on the horizon.
The email communication bearing the group’s logo and tagline lacked an executive sign off or even an issue date seemed to suggest the group was closing all offices. It read: “With a heavy heart we inform (partners) that Pacific World will cease operations from November 2020. The Hong Kong office will cease operations from 14 September 2020.”
TTR Weekly posted questions to Pacific World’s regional office in Singapore and its public relations firm to clarity the letter’s authenticity and the assertion on closing operations.
The group’s PR firm in Singapore responded: “Just would like to clarify that this letter was specifically regarding Pacific World Hong Kong and not a global communication. It mentions November which is the closing date for PW HK office while operations in Hong Kong will stop as from the earlier September date in the letter. The letter was sent to Hong Kong suppliers by Pacific World Hong Kong regarding Pacific World Hong Kong, not by Pacific World Global.”
Saying Covid-19 had completely disrupted global tourism over the past few months, the letter claimed it “would take 12 to 18 months for tourism to recover.”
Pacific World that specialises in the events market, including incentives conferences and exhibitions, has around 16 company offices across Asia, including the regional office in Singapore. It also has offices in Europe and the Americas.
Founded in 1980 in Hong Kong by travel veterans Jacques Arnoux and Bob Guy, the company comes under the Destination Experience Division of the European travel giant TUI Group.
Under Arnoux’s leadership, Pacific World expanded to become one of the leading MICE travel companies business in Asia. He sold the business to First Choice in 2006 (later part of TUI Travel PLC) and retired in 2011.
TUI included Pacific World in the sale of the Hotelbeds Group in 2016 to Cinven and Canada Pension Fund. Then in 2018, TUI bought back Pacific World from Hotelbeds along with the OTA’s destinations services division that included DMCs and a cruise booking service valued at EUR110 million.
The group’s main offices are located in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China as well as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
In Thailand, the Pacific World website indicates Bert Chamrernnusit is the country manager, while Andrea Teo is head of operations in Singapore. However, a telephone call to the Bangkok office of Pacific World confirmed the country manager resigned from the company effective 31 July.
Pacific World is one of three brands that are part of the TUI Group under its Destination Experiences Division. They are Intercruises, Pacific World and Musement.
Intercruises looks after cruises for all the world’s major cruise companies in around 60 countries. With a market share of 14%, the company is one of the leading providers in its segment.
Pacific World is active in the conference and events business. The company offers its services in 30 countries worldwide – preferably in Asia – and accompanied over 1 million events last year.
Musement headquartered in Italy offers travellers activities and excursions in 1,900 cities in 80 countries worldwide.