TUI eyes summer holiday boost from UK vaccine rollout as bookings surge

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TUI has said the UK’s coronavirus vaccine rollout will boost its summer holiday programme while reporting a surge in bookings despite official advice it is too soon to think about breaks abroad.

The world’s biggest holiday company said bookings across the group had topped 2.8 million for the European summer ahead – with average prices 20% up on the pre-COVID season of 2019.

It revealed a €699m (£613m) loss during its first financial quarter as lockdowns and travel restrictions in its key markets severely limited demand for flights and Christmas breaks abroad in the three months to the end of December.

But it said that cost-cutting limited the damage and it now had €2.1bn (£1.8bn) of cash in its war chest to get it through the tough months ahead after three capital-raising exercises during the crisis to date.

The company said that after a dire first half, it was expecting a strong pick-up in demand for summer breaks and it was planning for 80% of its summer 2019 capacity despite jitters in government circles on whether the disease, and its many variants, will allow for international travel as normal.

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