UK travellers put off by changing policies, travel boss says

Friedrich Joussen singled out policy on travel to Portugal.

August Graham
Thursday 12 August 2021 09:49
The travel giant cut its losses in the most recent quarter (Andrew Matthews/PA)
The travel giant cut its losses in the most recent quarter (Andrew Matthews/PA)

British holidaymakers have faced more uncertainty than many other Europeans in recent months, the boss of one of the continent’s biggest travel companies has said.

Tui chief executive Friedrich Joussen said that UK travellers had been put off by changing policies from the UK Government.

He singled out ministers’ decision to add Portugal to the list of green travel destinations in mid May before removing it in early June.

“You had Portugal on the green list and then Portugal off the green list, so the predictability of decisions I think was not very high,” he said.

“When you change the programme so often, then people cancel,” he added.

Data revealed by Tui on Thursday showed that, on all but a handful of days since mid-January, UK travellers cancelled more travel for summer 2021 than they booked.

In Germany Netherlands and Belgium, the three other countries that Tui released data for, bookings had been ahead of cancellations throughout most of this period.

“The difference between the UK and the other countries is a little bit of the uncertainty,” Mr Joussen said.

He added that the cost of PCR tests will be putting off customers.

A plane takes off past the control tower at Heathrow Airport (Steve Parsons/PA)

He also called for vaccinated European adults, and unvaccinated children, to be allowed to travel without restrictions.

Asked his opinion on how to treat unvaccinated adults, Mr Joussen split the debate into two camps.

One side of the debate argues that unvaccinated people should be motivated to get jabbed by making it more difficult for them to travel and go to public events.

“The other one was: why should we protect unvaccinated (people) if they don’t protect themselves?

“Just open it up.

“You know, hospitalisation is very low, we don’t have overloads in the system.

“Vaccinated people are not threatened by the unvaccinated.

“So my personal view was a little bit the second one,” he said.

Tui said on Thursday that its revenue had risen by more than 800% to 649.7 million euros (£465 million) in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the same period a year earlier.

Earnings loss before income taxes narrowed from 1.5 billion euros (£1.3 billion) to 846.9 million euros (£717 million)