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.

German tourism giant TUI predicts 'significantly better' summer
Travellers waiting at Hanover's airport on Thursday for a flight to Mallorca in March. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Julian Stratenschulte

“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”.

READ ALSO: When will tourism in Germany open up again?

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.

READ ALSO: German travel giant TUI secures new 1.8 billion aid package

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Is Leipzig really Germany’s ‘ultimate travel destination’?

The Saxonian city of Leipzig has been named by traveller’s bible Lonely Planet as its “ultimate” travel tip for Germany. Does the Local Germany’s knowledgeable readership agree?

The city centre of Leipzig.
The city centre of Leipzig. Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa-Zentralbild

Long a cult favourite among Germany fans, the left-wing city of Leipzig appears to now be gaining mainstream recognition after the Lonely Planet crowned it the country’s top travel destination this week.

In a new book titled “Ultimate German Travel Destinations – the top 250”, the travel publisher put Leipzig ahead of picturesque getaways such as Lake Constance and the Zugspitze as its number one destination.

“The hype that some say surrounds the city isn’t hype t all: Leipzig really is hipper than Berlin, and hotter than Munich, especially among millennials,” the guidebook boldly claims.

It goes on to lavish praise on the city of 600,000 inhabitants as “young, exciting, multifaceted – sometimes colourful, sometimes grey – and with a vibrant liveliness.”

“Everyone wants to go to the city where the anti-GDR demonstrations started,” the guidebook continues. “It is the home of Auerbachs Keller (made famous by Goethe and Faust); it’s the city of street art and wave gothic festivals; and its artistic scene at the Baumwollspinnerei is second to none.”

READ ALSO: A love letter to the eastern German city of Leipzig

‘Not cooler than Berlin’

Reaction to the list among the Local’s readership was mixed.

“It is a beautiful city and it’s easy to navigate. I find it hard to say that it’s cooler than Berlin, though. Berlin simply has more,” one reader told us on Facebook. “It’s the kind of place where people find their ‘spot.” I think most people in Leipzig know about most places in Leipzig. It’s a much smaller city. That may just be a more favourable lifestyle for some.”

Praise for Saxony’s biggest city ranged from admiration for the beauty of its architecture (particularly its train station) to the vibrancy of its arts scene.

Others suggested that Leipzig is indeed overhyped and that it can’t compete with natural wonders such as the pristine Königssee in the Bavarian Alps.

Lake Constance wins silver

Lake Constance, the country’s largest body of fresh water, came in second on the list.

The authors praised the southern See, which borders Switzerland and Austria, for “the many beautiful spots on its shores: Lindau, Meersburg, Überlingen, Constance and more – often surrounded by lush orchards.”

A regatta on the Bodensee in September 2021. Photo: dpa | Felix Kästle 

Hamburg’s new Elbphilharmonie concert hall came in third. 

“It’s impossible to imagine the Hanseatic city’s skyline without this glass work of art, which soars into the sky above the harbour like a frozen wave,” the book notes.

Also in the top ten were the Wattenmeer, which is a huge nature reserve on the North Sea coast, Berlin’s museum island, the sandstone hills of Saxony, and Germany’s highest peak, the Zugspitze in Bavaria.