Travel giant TUI said it expects holiday bookings to rise towards pre-pandemic levels as the industry makes a slow but steady recovery.
German chairman Stefan Baumert told the Funke group of newspapers: “Our customers have some catching up to do. We are convinced that we can get close to the level of 2019”.
It comes after TUI said last month that summer holiday bookings were approaching pre-Covid levels based on pent-up demand, with a steady return to normality in the UK as restrictions and testing rules were fully lifted and international travel has become increasingly accessible.
TUI chief exec Fritz Joussen said in a media call last month that long-haul travel was also looking more attractive despite inflation woes, with people likely to use their savings accumulated during the various lockdowns to splash out on travel.
Separately the company said it would keep face mask rules ‘under review,’ despite the changes to Covid-19 rules around the world. So far Jet2 are the only airline to scrap the requirement for passengers to be masked up throughout travel.
Whilst travel may be looking up, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused issues within TUI’s leadership team, with Russian billionaire Alexei Mordashov quitting his position on the board last week.
Mordashov was placed on the EU’s sanction list in retaliation for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The sanctions imposed by the European Commission relate only to Mordashov as a person and do not involve TUI as a company.
As a close friend of Vladimir Putin, there were concerns about Mordashov’s role.
He had been TUI’s majority shareholder for around 15 years, owning 34 per cent stake of the company. The remaining 66 per cent is owned by several private and institutional investors from the UK, Germany and the US.
“The aim of the EU sanctions is to prevent… Mordashov from disposing of his shares in TUI” and “from realising any proceeds or profits from his investment,” the company said in a statement.
The oligarch’s departure pushed TUI shares to its lowest in a month, hitting 206.70p.