Tui reported “strong bookings” following a resumption of holiday travel and downplayed the impact of changing travel restrictions.
Fritz Joussen, Tui Group chief executive, conceded the UK government’s re-imposition of quarantine restrictions on arrivals from Spain had an impact on UK bookings, but he said: “Even with all the changes, we have restarted operations.”
Speaking ahead of the UK extension of quarantine restrictions to France, the Netherlands and Malta late on Thursday, Joussen said: “People did not actually cancel.
“There are nice alternative destinations – Greece and so on. It created a bit of uncertainty. It is a bit customer unfriendly to announce at short notice. But we have seen good bookings to Greece.”
Joussen noted the steady increase in Tui’s operations following its resumption of operations in Germany in June with flights to Majorca and Portugal and said: “In July, we had strong bookings.
“We had almost 1.7 million bookings since the restart which is a lot.”
The bookings split over three seasons, with more than one million for this summer, 195,000 for the coming winter and 430,000 for summer 2021.
Tui reported a third-quarter loss of €1.45 billion for April to June, but Joussen said: “We believe in Q4 [July to September] we may be in a cash-neutral position on operations.”
He added: “We have very extensive health protocols [and] customers like it. Our customer rating is 8.5 out of 10, so people are happy on vacation. Fun vacations are not excluded.”
Joussen also noted: “We were the first to open cruise ships. We do them without disembarkation. It is working well but we expect destinations will open quite soon. The booking levels for cruise next year are very good.”
Asked about pricing, Joussen said: “People can have a bargain. We have a lot of bookings in the last week or two weeks before departure.
“If we have to cancel a destination or certain flights, we have re-bookings – 15% of our load factor is generated in the last week and at good prices.
“People who want to make a vacation can make a bargain. This year definitely you can find a bargain, also for winter. Next year, it is more expensive.”
Joussen also noted differences between Tui’s source markets, saying: “The Nordic countries are last coming back. Germany and the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands are strong – if you re-open a destination, it starts to pick up. The Nordics is slower.
“Long-haul destinations are not really open right now. Bookings are much more short term. People wait longer to book.
“We see good bookings now for August, but October is slow. That is related to the uncertainty. People think there may be a traffic warning.”
He said: “The situation is still fragile. We have to hope for the best and plan for the worst.”
The group reported a loss of €2.3 billion for the nine months to June.
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