Tui has extended the suspension of its Spain programme and ramped up capacity for Greece and Turkey.
The UK’s largest tour operator has already suspended flights and holidays to the Balearic and Canary islands until July 31, and mainland Spain until August 9.
These suspensions have today been extended to August 10 and August 17 respectively and follow the government’s advice against all non-essential travel to Spain.
Tui said there was “overwhelming demand” for customers to travel abroad this summer and has added an additional seven flights across three days in August to Greece and Turkey, which are on the UK government’s ‘safe list’ of countries. Additional services to Crete, Rhodes, Zante and Corfu in Greece, and Dalaman and Antalya in Turkey, will depart on August 8, 9 and 10.
Andrew Flintham, managing director of Tui UK and Ireland, said: “Our customer feedback is clear, they still want to travel abroad this summer, with over 70% of customers with cancelled holidays moving to another destination over the same period or in the coming weeks.”
Flitham said seven flights the operator had already added to Turkey and Greece this week had nearly sold out. “We’re therefore adding another seven new flights for next weekend,” he said.
“We will also continue to use our 787 Dreamliners, traditionally used for long-haul routes, to help with the additional demand.”
Flintham added: “The summer holiday period is the most important time of year for travel operators and we are therefore doing everything we can to help customers get their well-deserved holiday. The health and safety of our customers and colleagues is always our highest priority and welcome travel advice that protects those that holiday with us and we have worked hard to provide safe and enjoyable holidays this summer.
He also reiterated called for a more nuanced approach to quarantine restrictions, urging government to “work closely with the travel industry” and “remove the ‘blunt tool’ approach to quarantine and consider the rapid introduction of regional Travel Corridors”.
“The level of uncertainty and confusion created this week is damaging for business and customer confidence in travel,” he added.