The German travel giant said 2.6 million customers have been booked for its peak season, up from 2.8 million in February – some postponing their holidays until the future.
Summer 2021 booking levels were 69% lower than at the same time before summer 2019, before the pandemic hit.
TUI said the “small reduction” since the start of this year reflected “customers’ choice to defer their reservations to future seasons due to lack of clarity provided by governments on lifting travel restrictions.”
But the company also said there had been a “clearly evident” recovery in demand in recent weeks, with new bookings doubling since April on signs of a revival in tourism.
British plans published last week showed 12 countries would be on a “green list” when rules start to ease on May 17 – meaning those who return will not have to be quarantined.
But while Portugal was included, other typical mass tourism destinations for British holidaymakers like Spain, Italy and France were left out.
Managing Director Fritz Joussen told Sky’s Ian King Live it was’ amazing how cautious the UK was about the success of its vaccination programs and suggested that places such as Mallorca and the Greek Islands should have been on the list.
TUI figures also indicated pent-up demand poised to be triggered this winter, with UK bookings up 17% from pre-pandemic levels, and summer next year – with an increase of 293 %.
They come as TUI reported a pre-tax loss of 1.54 billion euros for the six months ending in late March, down from a loss of 849 million euros a year earlier.
Revenue of € 716 million was down 89% with travel restrictions imposed in the company’s main European markets for most of the period.
TUI said it expects capacity this summer at three-quarters of 2019 levels, with its reopening focusing on destinations such as Greece, the Balearic Islands and the Canaries “with good vaccination rates expected and low rates. infection ”.
Managing Director Fritz Joussen said: “The outlook for the start of summer 2021 makes me optimistic for tourism and for TUI.
“They are significantly better than in the first pandemic year, 2020.”
Shares of TUI – which have climbed more than 40% since the start of the year – have fallen almost 3% in the last update.