Tui UK & Ireland delivers €71 million annual profit

Tui UK & Ireland improved underlying annual earnings to €71 million after a “significant loss” in the previous year of €102 million.    

Tui Group carryings rose by 19% to 19.1 million in the year to September, fuelled by a strong summer.

Overall revenue exceeded €20 billion for the first time with a rise of 25% year-on-year to deliver a doubling of underlying profits to €977 million.

Europe’s largest travel group hailed “very strong demand” for holidays over the 12 months.

Tui said that periods of heat and forest fires in southern Europe “kept us and our customers busy in summer 2023, which also had a short-term impact on the development of bookings”.

Winter bookings are up 11% with average prices rising by 5% over the same period last year. The increase in bookings also corresponds to the rise in capacity for the winter, Tui said.

Bookings for summer 2024are still at a very early stage, with 14% of the summer programme currently sold.

“Initial indications point to a strong season, with bookings currently up 13% on summer 2023 and average prices four per cent higher,” Tui said.

The group expects for full-year 2024 revenue growth of at least 10% year-on-year and an increase in underlying earnings of at least 25%.

Chief executive Sebastian Ebel, unveiling the Tui Group annual report, said: “We had a strong summer and bookings have held up their healthy momentum into the early weeks of winter 2023/24. 

“We are working at a profit again; we have paid back the state loans. This has enabled us to invest in our own growth once more. And I am looking towards the new financial year with confidence. 

Holidays ‘high priority’

“The economy may be under a few clouds, but people attach high priority to their holidays. We have a clear growth strategy. 

“We are improving our market position in our traditional markets. We also want to offer new products to our regulars while winning over new customers in general.”

He added: “In markets where the competition is tougher, like UK & Ireland, we are walking taller all the time. We hope to score some points there and offer our customers a pleasant surprise.”

Looking forward, Ebel said: “Tourism and Tui have huge potential. We have triggered plenty of initiatives over the last 12 months. Now we are seeing the commercial payback, the profitable growth. 

“Of course there will be geopolitical conflict and crisis in future too. We have to live with such things.

“We will work hard at our success without getting too big for our boots, and we will always keep our eyes on our objective: to offer our customers unique holidays and experiences.” 

Sustainable travel

Addressing sustainability issues, Ebel warned that “politicians cannot keep piling new strains on us”.

He added: “Travel has been brandmarked by some politicians. Flying is demonised, cruising too. Holidaymakers are bombarded with excessive rules and prohibitions. 

“The package holiday – which is without a doubt the safest way to travel – is deliberately priced up by statutory obligations, while non-European groups are largely free to sell their unregulated products, which are not very consumer-friendly. 

“Besides, the government doesn’t do its homework: rail does not provide a punctual feeder service – we have to pay compensation for the delays. 

“And the same can often be said of flights, as air traffic control in Europe has still not been standardised, which would consistently permit routes and procedures to be as climate-friendly as possible. 

“Carbon emissions in European air space would, at a guess, be five to ten per cent lower if that could be achieved. There is simply not enough being done.

“At the same time, the fact that we have been investing massively for a long time in technologies to protect the environment is often ignored.”

Tui expects to reduce CO2 emissions per air passenger by nearly a quarter by 2030 with an ambition to become a zero emissions company by 2050 at the latest.

The group’s airlines will be using “substantially larger” quantities of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) over time.

“In fact, we intend to exceed the statutory blending requirements, even if these biofuel blends currently cost three to five times as much. Apart from that, we are optimising flight routes and renewing our fleet,” Ebel added.

David Burling departure

Tui executive board member David Burling is to hand over the responsibility for markets and airlines at the turn of the year after 34 years with the group.

He said: “Tui is back on track after the pandemic – sooner than many expected.

“After this successful year, it is the right time to hand over in order to continue the necessary transformation.”

Burling spent four years to 2015 as managing director of Tui UK & Ireland before assuming responsibility at group level.

Ebel and group chair Dieter Zetsche said: ”We are very grateful to David Burling. A professional life in tourism, internationally recognised and with enormous integrity.”

David Schelp is returning to Tui to become the new executive board member responsible for the group’s tour operator and airline business.

Schelp held management positions at Tui from 2002 to 2022, most recently as chief executive of Tui Musement.

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