German tourism giant TUI predicts 'significantly better' summer
German travel giant TUI said Wednesday it was 'optimistic' about a strong summer rebound despite booking heavy losses once again between October and March.
"The prospects for early summer 2021 make me optimistic for tourism and for TUI," said the company's CEO Fritz Joussen in a statement, adding that the outlook was "significantly better" than at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.
The German company said that "rising vaccinations and test concepts" would enable "a safe restart for tourism in Europe".
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It added that it had already received 2.6 million bookings for the coming summer, with "new bookings doubling since April".
Mediterranean destinations such as Greece and the Balearic islands were the most popular destinations, TUI said, adding that there was "particular potential" in holidaymakers from England.
Yet the number of summer bookings still remains 69 percent lower than in 2019, the year before the pandemic.
With hotels, cruise ships and other areas of the tourism sector unable to operate as normal in many places, TUI has been hit hard by the pandemic.
After unprecedented losses of €3.1 billion in 2020, the group revealed Wednesday that it had also suffered a financial hit at the beginning of this year.
It recorded net losses of €1.5 billion from October 2020 to March 2021 -- the first half of its fiscal year -- with operational losses (EBIT) of €1.3 billion.
Yet the group, which has received significant financial assistance from the German government, also said it had on hand cash and cash equivalents of €1.7 billion,
In January, TUI shareholders approved a third government bailout package of €1.8 billion, which included the option for the state to become a shareholder.
In total, Berlin has now poured around €4.3 billion of public money into the crisis-hit group.