TUI Group says summer 2021 bookings ‘remain at a high level’, having seen weekly bookings double since March as consumer confidence returns.
At just 2.6m, they’re still 69% down on the same point for summer 2019, but average prices are up 22% as more customers are opting to book all-inclusive packages, it said.
Announcing a €1.3 billion loss for the first half of the year, which was 74% higher than in the first half of 2020, TUI said the result was ‘better than expected’.
The travel giant said it had managed to limit the deficit through ‘strict cost discipline’.
It says it will continue to focus on its efficiency programme and digitalisation, having seen a 56% rise in online bookings during the first half of the year.
The company has stabilised its cash burn during the past six months to around €300 million a month, leaving it with €1.7bn in reserve, as of 7 May.
Sales for the six month period reached €716 million, down from €6.6 billion a year ago, but CEO Fritz Joussen said the prospects for summer 2021 are ‘significantly better’ than this time last year.
“Holidays are at the top of Europeans’ wish lists after the months of the pandemic,” he said.
“Bookings and booking trends show holidays in the Mediterranean, in the Aegean and on a ship will be possible again for many families in the coming weeks.”
“England in particular offers potential when new travel corridors to southern Europe open there too in the next few weeks.”
He said European destinations, particularly Greece, Canaries and Balearics were the favourites for summer 2021.
Capacity for the core summer months remains at around 7% of the 2019 summer programme, said TUI.
Bookings for summer 2022 are also showing a good trend, it added, with UK bookings up 109% since the end of March.
We are now at the beginning of the expected restart. The anticipation is palpable, these are opportunities for tourism and for TUI – Mr Joussen.
TUI said the package tour ‘continues to play an important role in the pandemic’, adding that it ‘guarantees high hygiene and safety standards across all stages of the travel experience, thus enabling responsible travel, even in times of the pandemic’.
It said that it has taken 2.7m people on holiday since the travel restart last summer and there has been less one case of coronavirus a week for every 100,000 of its guests.