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The optimism some companies and travelers feel going into the summer holidays is a mix of concerns of another Delta-like end to the season as well as hopes that this year just has to end better than the last.

TUI’s summer travel bookings were steadily approaching pre-COVID levels, the European holiday company said on Tuesday, helping it return a portion of the German state aid it received to weather the pandemic fallout.

The world’s largest holiday company said 3.5 million TUI customers had booked a trip for summer 2022, as of Jan. 30, around 72% of the levels seen during the same period in 2019. However, new bookings were at 100% of pre-crisis levels, it added.

TUI, which runs hotels, airlines, cruises and travel agencies, had struggled since pandemic-related restrictions wreaked havoc on the global tourism industry.

As countries gradually lift curbs, demand for travel has improved, underpinning hopes for a recovery.

“We expect a strong summer 2022,” Chief Executive Officer Fritz Joussen said. “There is pent-up demand among customers.”

Travellers are also booking “higher quality” holidays with bigger budgets this summer, the company said.

TUI, which has been bailed out multiple times by the German government and taken more than 4 billion euros ($4.6 billion) in state loans and raised equity to ride out the crisis, said it would return around 0.7 billion euros of the state aid by April.

As of last week, the company had cash and cash equivalents of 3.3 billion euros.

($1 = 0.8760 euros)

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

This article was from Reuters and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].


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Tags: coronavirus recovery, europe, tui

Photo credit: Fritz Joussen, CEO of TUI Group, is optimistic about summer 2022 bookings. TUI AG

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