No cheap, last-minute deals this summer, says Tui boss

Holiday giant Tui will not be offering last-minute, low-price deals for the summer amid a recovery in customer demand, its chief executive has said.

Fritz Joussen said the company will hold its current pricing, unlike in previous years.

“There will be practically no last-minute deals for this summer,” he told reporters.

“Over the past six weeks, we’ve seen demand beyond 2019. We want to keep that momentum but aren’t going to suddenly shift to discounting.”

Tui said pricing for this summer has increased by 20%, but bosses stressed that this was driven by longer holidays and more expensive trips, including five-star hotels, as many people travel again for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic.

It came as the company more than halved its losses for the past six months as the rebound in customer numbers accelerated and bookings jumped.

It reported an earnings loss of 614.5 million euros (£525 million) for the half-year to March 31, following a 1.3 billion euros (£1.11 billion) loss for the same period a year earlier.

Tui told shareholders it could return to profit by the end of the year as a result.

It said it expects a “strong” summer and has already achieved 85% of the booking levels seen in summer 2019, before it felt the impact of the pandemic.

It said the latest quarter was “significantly improved” as the easing of Covid-19 restrictions helped boost bookings.

The travel group said its UK operation “continues to lead the way” for summer bookings, which currently show an 11% increase against the levels seen in summer 2019.

Tui said it expects overall bookings for the summer to “almost reach” levels from 2019.

It has been buoyed by holidaymakers booking “more at short notice” and also spending more money on each trip, the firm said.

Meanwhile, revenues for the past half-year increased more than five-fold to 4.5 billion euros (£3.8 billion) against the same period a year earlier, when the firm was still struggling with coronavirus restrictions.

Mr Joussen said: “The high demand for travel and the very good business performance confirm our forecasts.

“2022 will be a good financial year. Capacity almost reaches pre-corona level of 2019.

“After two years of crisis, we expect Tui to become profitable again in the current financial year with a significantly positive underlying EBIT (earnings before interest and tax).

“This is the basis for new growth.”