Tui Group has resumed operations in all of its European markets, reporting demand remaining “unabatedly high” after taking around 1.5 million bookings since its half-year results in May.
The group said summer 2021 demand was at “an unbroken level” at around 4.2 million bookings – with 52% of customers choosing to book online.
Average prices were 9% higher than for summer 2019 due to a high proportion of package holidays sales, while capacity for Tui’s programme had been adjusted to 60% of 2019’s summer season.
Besides the Balearic islands, the Greek islands – in particular Crete and Rhodes – were among its most popular destinations.
The group reported achieving “positive cash flow” for the first time since the start of the pandemic of around €320m aided via an “efficiency programme” and “strict cost discipline".
Due to “continued restrictions” as a result of Covid, Tui said leisure travel could not be resumed in all markets during the reporting period – with adjusted Ebit (earnings before interest and taxation) of -€670m and revenues reaching €650m.
During the reporting period, 283 Tui hotels were open and eight of the group’s cruise ships were carrying passengers.
The group also implemented a number of refinancing measures – including the sale of 21 hotels – and an agreement with 19 international banks and German state-owned bank KfW to extend revolving credit facilities totalling €4.7bn until summer 2024.
In a statement, Tui chief executive Fritz Joussen said “booking momentum” remained high “as soon as state travel restrictions are withdrawn” and called for those who had been fully vaccinated "to have their liberties fully restored".
“It is necessary to move away from the rigid consideration of incidence levels as a measure of the pandemic. We will probably live with Covid as with other infectious diseases. The point is to mitigate the contagions, the severity and the consequences of a disease," said Joussen.
"In Europe, vaccination offers are available to everyone who wants to be vaccinated, severe disease progressions do not increase noticeably, and the health systems are not overburdened anywhere in Europe. This is a great success of the vaccination campaigns. Vaccination protects – vaccinated people are protected and are no longer a significant risk to others.
“Where the state gives back normal entrepreneurial freedom, we are very successful – where states intervene and restrict entrepreneurial freedom, these interventions impact bookings,” he said.
Joussen said booking figures for Germany and the rest of continental European markets “show a high pent-up demand”, while for the UK, a lack of international travel until mid-July meant “demand and bookings there will therefore be reflected in the fourth quarter," he said.
"Business is coming back and Tui’s transformation is clearly having an impact."