Friedrich Joussen, the head of one of the world’s largest leisure travel operators TUI said there was good reason to be optimistic in 2022 and that travel demand was focused more on the Mediterranean.
“Looking ahead to the 2022 summer season, we are positive,” said Joussen in an interview published on the group’s website.
The company’s CEO said indicators and trends were “intact” and that summer 2022 was “well booked and currently in line with capacity expectations”.
Joussen did note however that it was still too early to make a “real forecast” for the 2022 summer season but added that there was scope for significant recovery.
“We are optimistic that tourism will be able to recover to 2019 levels next summer. At the same time, we also know from 2021 that bookings will be made much later and at shorter notice. Bookings for summer 2022 from all TUI markets are already very encouraging,” he said.
Earlier this month, in its fourth financial quarter results for 2021, the leisure travel giant said bookings for 2022 were “encouraging” and that it expects in summer 2022 to recover booking levels, adding that it has so far achieved 69 percent of pre-crisis level bookings.
Topping the TUI Group agenda is expanding. Joussen said the company was on the look-out for long-term strategic partnerships and working with institutional investors. Growth plans, he said, include holiday hotels in Europe, East Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.
TUI is one of Greece’s key partners. Reflecting the importance of the Greek market for TUI, earlier this year Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias met with company executives in Athens, and agreed to schedule the first tourist arrivals to Greek destinations in March 2022.
In terms of trends emerging after the Covid-19 pandemic, Joussen said customers were now seeking higher-value travel and more add-on services. He added that vacationers are also willing to spend more money on extras such as room upgrades, a higher quality hotel or personalized authentic experiences. He also said there was a slight increase in the average length of stay. Lastly, he said customer demand was “seeing a strong shift towards the Mediterranean countries”.