Tui chief executive Fritz Joussen praised the UK’s vaccination roll-out and criticised the EU as he reported the group’s latest booking figures.

Reporting results for the final quarter of last year, Joussen said: “The vaccine developments and rapid testing are now very good. So we are very positive.

“It’s amazing what the UK is doing with vaccines and I’m pretty sure the government in the UK will be clear not being in Europe was a good thing for vaccination. I think that is right.”

He argued: “The UK has been very diligent securing vaccines, contrary to Europe. Europe has not got it right. The US, Israel and the UK have got it right.

“The UK is very advanced. We have very high bookings in the UK and very high vaccinations in the UK. It’s fortunate for us, and the UK government can say Brexit provided an advantage.”

Tui reported an operating loss of €699 million for the three months to December, but Joussen insisted: “We’re very positive.”

He noted the group had more than 2.8 million bookings for this summer by early February, more than half of them in the UK, and said: “We believe there is much still to come.

“All the research shows we will have shorter booking times. For now, it’s a matter of waiting.

“My ambition is that everywhere is as good at vaccination as the UK. When you are confident the vulnerable groups are vaccinated you have accounted for about 90%-95% of fatalities.”

Joussen added that package holidays were proving more popular due to the pandemic, arguing: “People demand safety and that we take care end to end.

“People like that they have one partner to book with and that we take the risk that the whole package will be available.”

He said: “I’m very confident. There is no reason to be pessimistic.”