The chief executive of Europe’s largest travel company insists “travelling in Europe will be possible” this summer and says there is “no doubt” vaccine certification can help restore the sector.

Tui chief executive Fritz Joussen put out a statement as EU leaders debate ways to restart the holiday season this year, including the potential introduction of vaccine certification.

He said: “Travelling in Europe will be possible in summer 2021 – safely and responsibly.

“We are preparing intensively for this at Tui. Tui is already in close coordination with Greece, Spain and Cyprus. Talks are to be extended to other holiday destinations in the western and eastern Mediterranean in the coming weeks.

Joussen noted: “The desire for holidays has been high throughout the pandemic. Demand and bookings are picking up after the UK government unveiled a timetable for an end to the Covid restrictions. Germany is also preparing to restart and exit the lockdown. It is clear that interest in holidays is turning into bookings and revenues again.”

Joussen said governments of southern European countries have “developed good concepts for the restart” with rapid tests, vaccinations and uniform proof of immunity “at the core of these plans”.

He said there was “no doubt” a European ‘vaccination passport’ “can help restore freedom to travel”.

“With a uniform EU certificate, politicians can now create an important basis for summer travel,” said Jousen. “As long as not everyone can be vaccinated, rapid tests are the second important building block for safe holidays. They are reliable and are now available in sufficient numbers.”