TUI, the world’s largest tourism operator, said Wednesday that the spread of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus was having an impact on bookings as it reported a hefty net loss.
The German group, which runs its business year from October to September, booked a net loss of 2.48 billion euros ($2.8 billion) for the year just ended, following a record loss of 3.1 billion euros the year before, as the coronavirus pandemic virtually shut down the tourism industry.
Demand had recovered quickly with the group’s offering “almost fully booked” from October through December, TUI CEO Fritz Joussen said in a statement.
TUI’s operating business was “back”, Joussen said, adding that “booking levels similar to pre-corona 2019” in the peak travel season of the European summer in 2022.
But rising case numbers and “the emergence of [the] new Omicron variant has weakened this positive momentum particularly for winter”, the group stated in a presentation.
Announcing its financial results for the past fiscal year, TUI said revenues tripled to 3.5 billion euros for the period between July and September, a traditionally strong season for the industry.
On the group’s prefered measure of operating profit (underlying EBIT), closely watched by investors, TUI booked a loss of 97 million euros for the three-month period compared with a loss of 570 million euros previously.
Hotels, crusies and chartered flights — the core of TUI’s business — have been severely impacted by the pandemic crisis.
In 2020, the German group responded by announcing plans to cut costs by 400 million euros each year by 2023.
In October, TUI raised 1.1 billion euros in capital to refinance and begin repaying massive government loans it received towards the beginning of the pandemic.
TUI shares were up 1.8 percent at 221.30 pence in late afternoon trading in London. — Agence France-Presse