TUI stocks are really in the toilet now on the news that fears about COVID-19 variants have dampened traveler enthusiasm for travel in 2021. No amount of pie in the sky PR work will lift the debt ridden tour giant if June bookings don’t suddenly appear. TUI CEO Ebastian Ebel is running about painting a picture that has no basis in reality.
This Yahoo! Finance tells of a UK tourist situation that is anything but positive as doctors and scientists now suggest it might be too soon to move to the next stage of the unlocking lockdowns and travel restrictions. TUI is shouting to the rooftops how Greece will be the top travel destination in Europe this summer. Ebel is now pinning his company’s hopes, and Greece’s, on an Autumn swarm of travelers. But there is no indication when Greece will be “green” for UK tourists.
Tui reported a €1.5 billion loss in the six months to the end of March, and the current quarter is not looking up for the travel giant. CNN reports the situation accurately stating that even though TUI (TUIFF) is touting “a strong 2021 holiday season,” the 2.6 million bookings it reported Wednesday for the summer months are 69% lower than 2019 numbers.
Here on Crete, the TUI resorts on several beaches we were at over the last few days seemed empty. Greeks are the only people sunning at nearby Heraklion beaches, which would normally be swarming with people from the UK, Germany, and elsewhere in Europe. In the pedestrian zone of Heraklion, there are no shopping bags bounding along 25th August Street and other shopping avenues.
With Greece having opened her doors this past weekend, we see the reason behing the country’s tourism chief’s betting it all on Summer 2021. Reuters report Greece is counting on salvaging this summer season to head off a wave of insolvencies. The report from Karolina Tagaris reveals that Greece’s central bank is holding billions in non-producing loans (NPLs) on account of COVID-19.
“Hopes” are prayers that a throng of tourists will hit Greek hotspots before Summer 2021 ends. But at this point there’s not much proof that Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis’ gamble will pay off. The New Democracy government has bet everything on immunizing touristic islands, and if travelers don’t show many people will be quesitoning the sanity of vaccinating remote islands before at-risk populations in urban centers. As for TUI, if 2021 is another flop the only thing that can save the tour giant will be another bailout from Chancellor Merkel or a Russian oligarch.