Tui extends suspension of beach and cruise programme

Tui has extended the suspension of its beach and cruise programmes following updated FCO advice. It also confirmed the launch of Tui River Cruise scheduled for last month will now take place on November 26.

The operator’s beach holidays up to and including May 14 have been suspended, while Marella Cruise itineraries up to and including May 31 will no longer operate.

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A statement from the company said: “We will keep a close eye on our programme and continue to amend and adapt timings in line with the latest global travel advice.

“We will update our customers as soon as we can of any changes to their holidays. We, like other travel companies, want to travel again as soon as we possibly can and will do so in line with government advice.”

Tui said changes in ways of working and the closure of its retail stores had impacted response times, and said it understood that customers may be “frustrated” if they are unable to make contact.

The statement added: “Customers who have a booking impacted by these changes will be able to amend their holiday to any other Tui package holiday on sale for free via manage my booking on our website. Customers who booked in retail should wait for us to contact them to discuss their options.”

Meanwhile, Tui Group has confirmed a state aid bridging loan of €1.8 billion from the German government announced on March 27.

Fritz Joussen, chief executive, said: ” Our employees are rightly proud of Tui’s success in recent years and they should continue to be in the future – after this crisis we must bridge this unprecedented global situation.

“The German Government has acted quickly to support jobs and companies during these exceptional times. We are now preparing intensively for when our operations can resume after the coronavirus crisis and firmly believe people will continue to want to travel and explore other countries and cultures in the future.

Consumer group Which? hit out at Tui for not updating customers on their refund rights.

Travel editor Rory Boland said: “Tui is acting disgracefully by telling customers ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you’ and then failing to provide any information about their rights to a refund for cancelled holidays, sometimes costing thousands of pounds. Many of these people may desperately need their money back because they are under financial pressure due to coronavirus.

“The travel industry is under great strain, and while we encourage holidaymakers to rebook or accept vouchers if it suits their circumstances, it should not be on consumers to prop up the UK’s biggest holiday company while they are left to suffer without their money. To help end this uncertainty, the government should confirm how it intends to support the travel industry through this outbreak while ensuring that consumers can still claim their money back and have it returned to them within a reasonable timeframe.”

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