Tui cuts winter capacity after summer bookings plummet 83%

Travel giant Tui has made further cuts to winter capacity due to changing restrictions, as it reported an unprecedented 83% slump in summer bookings.

The Anglo-German business said it has cut its fourth quarter programme from 30% to just 25%, with the upcoming winter holiday capacity recently reduced by around another fifth.

It has also switched to alternative low-risk destinations, but said the last month has been impacted by “continuous changes in travel advice by various governments across our markets”, with holidaymakers now booking very last minute as a result.

It added that holiday prices have slipped by 19%, while it has also seen winter sales fall 59% against the same period last year.

Tui revealed plans to axe 8,000 jobs and shut 166 of its high street stores earlier in the pandemic as part of its cost-cutting plans.

It reduced its fixed costs by more than 70% during the lockdown period and said it now hopes to permanently reduce its cost base by 30% across the group.

The chief executive of Tui Group, Friedrich Joussen, said: “We have successfully restarted our operations; customers are enjoying their holidays with newly adapted hygiene protocols and we have taken 1.4 million customers on their holidays since restart.

“Destination availability at present is highly influenced by government policy and development of the pandemic, meaning the environment remains volatile, and is likely to remain so for the next few quarters.

“Our integrated model, underpinned by our trusted and leading brand, offering differentiated products and attractive value propositions, combined with proven flexibility in a volatile environment, means we are strategically well placed to benefit as leisure travel volume recovers over the coming seasons.”

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “Despite this optimism, Tui has seen a decline in booking volumes, holiday prices, holiday capacity and a shift in consumer trends whereby many people are waiting until the last minute to book, which clouds earnings visibility.

“The fact that governments keep changing travel advice is not helping matters, but the pandemic is a fluid situation and companies like Tui will simply need to keep on their toes and be ready to either seize opportunities to sell more holidays if conditions permit, or hunker down and go into survival mode if conditions worsen.”