Tui reports £2.8bn loss but Covid vaccine breakthrough boosts recovery hopes

Europe’s largest travel company, Tui, lost a whopping £ 2.8 billion after coronavirus restrictions brought the tourism industry to a halt in March.

The group, which owns tour operators such as Tui and Marella Cruises in the UK, saw sales fall 58 percent over the 12 months to September.

It is confident that the travel industry is showing signs of recovery, but warned that capacity should still be scrapped due to ongoing uncertainty.

The group will operate only 20 percent of its usual capacity this winter due to growing travel restrictions due to the rising number of infections “and the subsequent booking behavior of some customers”.

Tui said, “We continue to expect to operate an 80 percent modified capacity by the summer of 2021, which will be upgraded as we gain more insight into future travel restrictions imposed.”

It added: “There is still considerable uncertainty about the likelihood and nature of further lockdowns and travel restrictions in the coming months, the distribution of an effective vaccine and the shape of the economic recovery.

“Tui is ready for a quick and successful resumption of travel activities once lockdowns are lifted and destinations reopen. The prospect of vaccinations from the beginning of the year will significantly increase the demand for summer holidays in 2021. We are prepared for a fresh start after the crisis. ”

Bookings in the summer of 2021 from the UK are up 19 percent after a surge in early sales.

The company added, “We expect later booking behavior to be less pronounced as local travel restrictions decrease, vaccine programs become available and we return to a more normalized leisure travel environment – supported by an increase in recent bookings following positive vaccine news. “

It predicted high consumer interest in holidays and promises a speedy recovery for the holiday industry if the coronavirus pandemic abates.