Tui is ready to resume operations from Germany as soon as borders reopen, with holidays to the Balearics, Canaries, Greece and Cyprus as well as North Sea cruises likely to be available first.

Chief executive Fritz Joussen said: “We are ready to provide trips – not everywhere.  [But] we believe the latest in July we will be open to resume. Other companies assume the same. We will be ready to go to selective destinations before.”

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Joussen gave an upbeat assessment of the group’s prospects as he reported half-year results to the end of March, insisting: “In 2022, at the latest, we will see a full recovery of tourism.”

He acknowledged: “Now we have zero revenue. We don’t know when markets will open. We don’t know when we will be flying or when borders will open.

“We don’t know when demand will return. We don’t know when demand will reach past levels.”

But he said: “We are in negotiations with governments in source markets as well as in destinations and prepare ourselves for a restart. The demand is there.

“We tested models in Mallorca. Now it depends on the politics to open.”

He suggested Tui would “focus on markets where infections are low” and said: “We will open as soon as possible German short cruises, three or five days on the North Sea, which is always popular in summer. We will restrict numbers to about 1,000 customers so there is lots of space.”

Joussen argued: “Personally, I think borders will be open soon. The Balearics, Canaries, Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria are ready. It is a matter of decision making at both ends, in Germany and in the destinations. Outside Europe it may be a little longer.”

He reported Tui has retained more than one third of its bookings for this summer and has seen a rise in bookings for the coming winter from the UK.

Joussen said: “We still have 35% of the programme sold for summer 2020, [although] usually we would be at 59% now. So it’s still possible we can re-energise the programme in summer where countries are open.

“We are up 8% [year on year] in the UK for winter 2020-21. Summer 2021 we also open – numbers are small but double the volume of last year.”

But Joussen said advising passengers when they would be able to travel was difficult, saying: “It’s easy to say June 14 it’s not possible. It’s harder to say what is possible. People increasingly don’t understand that we can’t give answers. When you can’t promise customers, it’s not easy.”

He added: “Travel will be different. Safety will be important. We will need to take care of our customers and people.”

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