Tui has cut its summer capacity for 2021 despite “increasing interest” and pent-up demand for holidays this year.
Europe’s biggest travel company said the vaccination programmes and government initiatives were leading to “positive booking behaviour”, particularly in Alemania and the UK, but admitted that the overall bookings remained at just 2.8m for the summer – more than 4m fewer than at the same time in 2019.
Tui hoped to reassure investors at its annual meeting after shares tumbled on Monday amid warnings from politicians and health experts that foreign holidays could be ruled out this summer. En lugar de, the share price slid a further 6% el jueves.
While UK tourists, who normally account for 25-30% of Tui’s market, will not be travelling until at least 17 May under the current roadmap, Tui has pinned hopes on its German customers travelling over the Easter holidays.
sin embargo, a renewed wave of Covid outbreaks in Germany and debate over fresh restrictions could yet affect those holidays. Tui said it was in favour of testing all German holidaymakers at their destination over Easter before their return, but stressed that its “holiday offers were geared towards relaxation, beach walks and the conscious experience of nature”.
Tui announced the closure of 48 high street branches in the UK on Tuesday, but said there was strong pent-up demand. Rebookings helped autumn sales up by 12%, and sales for spring 2022 were more than double the usual level for the following year.
Chief executive Friedrich Joussen told the meeting there was reason to look ahead with optimism: “We know there is pent-up demand for travel … Policymakers have to create the conditions for tourism.”
He said the number of vaccines available, and the fact that travellers would be able to use rapid Covid-19 tests represented “significant progress” compared with 2020.
Joussen reflected on a miserable 2020, when the pandemic largely halted business: “Tui became a company without a product and without revenues.”
The group took just 2.5 million people on holiday – around 10% of normal – and burned through €4.4bn (£3.8bn), Joussen said.