TUI reports £2.1 billion annual loss as new COVID variant threatens winter bookings

©TUI

Hanover, Germany-based Touristik Union International (TUI), the world’s largest leisure, travel and tourism company is considering a potential cut to the remainder of its winter schedule as a consequence of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant begins to spread, globally. This comes on the back of the group reporting a loss of £2.1 billion for the financial year ended September 30, 2021 which it has attributed to the effects of the pandemic on the travel industry as a whole.

The potential fourth wave of the pandemic comes at a time when TUI was getting close to break-even point, having posted a July-to-September loss of £82.7 million, which also helped reduce the group’s loss from £2.7 billion in the 2019-2020 financial year. Currently many tourists who have booked holidays through the group have chosen to postpone trips rather than opt for an outright cancellation now that new travel restrictions are coming into force. The group also noted that average spend was up 15% on previous bookings as customers opt for more luxurious holidays.

TUI has remained positive that summer bookings will still rebound – bookings have reached 93% of capacity for the first three months of 2022, which equates to 69% of pre-pandemic levels.  The Group’s chief executive, Fritz Joussen, said: “TUI’s operating business is back and has recovered significantly in the last financial quarter of 2021.” However, he added: “There will be flexibility in deciding whether to offer winter programme capacity at the lower end of the range depending on the so-called fourth corona wave and possible policy decisions with regard to the Omicron variant.”

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