Heat hit late bookings, ‘cautious’ TUI confirms

Heat hit late bookings, ‘cautious’ TUI confirms

The prolonged heatwave in Europe has made TUI “cautious” about its forecast for the fourth quarter to September and full-year financial results.

But TUI chief executive Fritz Joussen dismissed concerns about the impact of a no-deal Brexit despite confirming the group has made plans to handle the fall-out if the UK exits the EU next March without a deal.

TUI reported “a very good nine months” in third-quarter results released on Thursday, maintaining its forecast of 10% growth in underlying profit over the financial year despite a fall in profits in the UK in the three months to June.

However, Joussen said: “We are cautious people. How much the hot weather will impact the last quarter remains to be seen. Hot weather is usually not the best environment for last-minute bookings.

“Outperforming 10% is a little unlikely. But we are 86% booked [for this summer]. We have so many bookings in, we can be confident at least of 10%.”

He added: “Historically, we know if the weather is very hot, late bookings are low and we have seen the last five weeks very good weather.

“But we are 4% up [for bookings] with 86% of bookings in, so we re-iterate our guidance.”

Asked whether the heat might deter people from booking to the Western Mediterranean, Joussen said: “There is no evidence for that. People also go to Egypt and it can be 40 degrees there. But good if people go [instead] to Turkey.”

He dismissed concerns about a no-deal Brexit and denied TUI had ramped up preparations for such an outcome given the lack of clarity.

However, he declined to give details of the preparations other than saying: “The list is long. We’re a global company. We’re talking about people, customers, everything.”

Joussen said: “When you don’t know what is happening, you prepare for everything. Most likely it [a no-deal Brexit] won’t happen. That is what I believe.”

He added: “There are many maybes. I can only say profits are up. Let’s see what the remainder of the summer will do.”

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