TUI says recovery underway as holiday bookings rise

Holiday company TUI has said summer bookings jumped by 1.5 million since May, and it was confident in demand for the rest of its key season, helping to ease pressure on finances which have been hammered by the pandemic.

Hanover-based TUI has taken on loans of over €4 billion and been bailed out multiple times by the German government after Covid-19 forced it to stop running holidays last year.

The company said on Thursday that a recovery was now underway.

For this summer, it said it currently had 4.2 million bookings and was seeing strong demand and booking momentum in recent weeks, as travel from Britain, which alongside Germany is its biggest market, is allowed to restart at scale.

“Germany and continental European markets show high demand. In England this will only be reflected in the fourth quarter (July-Sept). Business is coming back,” said Chief Executive Fritz Joussen.

But the group also cut its summer capacity to 60% of the size of its 2019 programme, down from the 75% it had planned in May, illustrating the impact of travel restrictions in Britain lasting longer than expected.

Bookings from Germany and the rest of continental Europe helped it turn cash flow positive in its March-June quarter for the first time since the pandemic started and it recorded a cash inflow of €320 million.

For the period, it posted an adjusted EBIT loss of €670 million on revenues of €650 million.