The summer vacation season is looking up for Greece, it appears, as travel giant TUI says that advance bookings for Greek vacations have performed well despite the current travel restrictions.
In fact, Greece might see the first UK holidaymakers as soon as April, according to TUI boss Fritz Joussen, who said on Tuesday that “the usual suspects”, summer vacation destinations such as Greece and Spain, were attracting an impressive number of bookings already.
Huge “pent-up demand
TUI reported its fourth-quarter 2020 results on Tuesday, posting an adjusted loss before taxes of nearly €700 million in revenue, which represents a staggering 88% drop in profits from €3.85 billion to €468.1 million in the last three months of last year.
CEO Fritz Joussen maintains that there is a great deal of pent-up demand for journeys abroad, stating “People are sitting on their suitcases and are waiting for what opens first. We just fly wherever is open.
“A look at the historically high savings rate in the EU also underlines that the scope for consumer spending is high,” he explained. “The significant increase in spending on booked travel reflects this very clearly. Holidaymakers are catching up and are willing to pay more for their holidays. People are trading up and booking longer and more luxurious holidays.”
Linked to coronavirus vaccine
Joussen also remarked that the uptick in interest is linked to the coronavirus vaccine becoming more available in the UK as the months go on, adding that other European countries would accelerate their inoculation programs after a slower start.
The travel CEO says that he believes three-quarters of the UK population will be vaccinated by mid-July, and the government is attempting to inocluate all those over 50 by May.
“The English market has a special significance for our company,” Joussen stated. “We see an impressive pace and ambitious targets for vaccinations there. Vaccinations and rapid tests make an end to the standstill in tourism possible. I am hopeful that after a slow start, more energy is now being put on vaccination and the availability of rapid tests in other countries.”
Revenues for the travel giant were €486 million (£426 million) in the last quarter, down from €3.85 bllion in the same quarter a year earlier.
TUI survived this grave downturn with the help of a third financing package with shareholders, banks and monies from Germany’s economic stabilization fund. The massive €2.8 bllion package was completed in late January of 2021.
Possible “vaccine certificates”
Julie Palmer, from the restructuring firm Begbies Traynor, stated today that “As vaccinations begin to roll out globally and discussions of ‘vaccine passports’ for travellers continue, hopes are building that a recovery can begin in the summer with the pent-up demand from the past year.”
Just yesterday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis discussed the “vaccine certificate” program with Cyprus President Anastasiades, in which all who travel throughout the EU must show that they have received an inoculation. Earlier this year, EU officials stated that they would consider the implenentation of a vaccine certificate program.