Tui chief dismisses quarantine concerns

The head of Tui has dismissed concerns that the UK’s imposition of a 14-day quarantine on arrivals will finish any remaining summer travel business, saying “let it evolve a little”.

Tui chief executive Fritz Joussen said: “Of course, if you have a quarantine, holidays are prohibited. But does it make sense to keep that for a long time? I don’t think so.

“It needs to be reasonable and appropriate. A quarantine to Spain is not reasonable for a long time. It may be some weeks. [But] we should not be impatient.”

More:Covid-19 is “greatest crisis ever” for travel industry

Summer season ‘likely to be cancelled’, says health secretary

Reporting results for the six months to March today, Joussen also downplayed concern about remarks by health minister Matt Hancock suggesting UK consumers’ holiday plans could be “cancelled” this summer.

Joussen said: “I’m not a health minister. What I saw on a global basis is customers want to go on holiday and politicians in Europe take the view that free movement is possible when it is safe.

“We will plan for selective source markets and destinations. We are ready to provide trips. I get the feeling governments are opening free borders if it is safe.”

Joussen forecast “a full recovery of tourism in 2022 at the latest” and said: “People have a strong demand to take holidays and we have the means to make it happen with reasonable safety.”

He suggested social distancing measures would apply “mainly at airports” and said: “You could argue charter travel is more safe [than scheduled flying]. It is not random. It’s very organised. You don’t need to track passengers, you just need the passenger manifest.”

Joussen reported Tui would cut 8,000 jobs as part of programme to reduce group costs by 30%

He suggested most of the jobs would be likely to go in destinations, saying: “We will not be filling a lot of seasonal roles. It might mean no hiring. It might mean roles disappear – 8,000 is a global number.”

The Tui chief highlighted the impact of “repayments to customers” in the meantime, saying “customers are starting to chargeback”.

He warned: “The whole industry will collapse if this starts to happen. If we don’t restart [travel] soon that will be a big problem.

“Vouchers are discussed everywhere. You have countries that are very supportive [of vouchers] and implemented a system, and countries where it is decided but not yet implemented. The voucher system in Belgium is mandatory and it protects liquidity.

“We all need to ensure the system does not collapse. If we don’t have liquidity, the system will collapse.”

He put the monthly cost of pay-outs to customers across the group at up to €200 million, on top of fixed costs of about €250 million a month.


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