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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Largest European Travel Company Sees "Huge" Potential in Russia

COLOGNE, Germany — The chief executive of Germany-based TUI Travel, Europe's largest travel company, said Tuesday that he sees "huge opportunities in Russia."

"This is a country which has changed dramatically," Peter Long said in a speech at an industry event.

Travel companies around the world are struggling to cope with a drop in demand as consumers tighten their travel budgets. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has said international tourism will decline 4-6 percent this year.

"We see this situation not being over quickly," Long said. "Unemployment continues to rise and that is the greatest uncertainty we have to access in terms of our customers and their desire to travel."

Along with rival Thomas Cook, which has said it would miss its 2010 operating profit goal as economic conditions worsen, TUI Travel has responded to the recession by reducing the amount of holidays on sale, enabling it to increase average selling prices and avoid discounting heavily in the late bookings market.