The CEO of TUI, Sebastian Ebel, has highlighted the potential impact of heatwaves and climate change on travel trends, suggesting that individuals might opt to take their vacations during the spring or autumn seasons and choose destinations with cooler climates.
Sebastian Ebel, the Chief Executive Officer of TUI, mentioned that holidaymakers could consider traveling to destinations like Greece in November, which could prove advantageous for the travel industry. He also pointed out that locations such as the Belgian or Polish coast might experience a rise in popularity.
TUI reported that the wildfires in Rhodes during July incurred costs of €25 million (£21.5 million) for the company. Approximately 8,000 TUI customers were evacuated from the Greek island. However, the company noted that 80% of its guests on the island were unaffected by the situation.
Mr. Ebel expressed his observation that the climate did not match its typical description. He recounted his personal experience of visiting Rhodes on the first day of the wildfires and being surprised by their lack of visibility.
Overall, more than 20,000 individuals were evacuated due to wildfires in Rhodes and other parts of Greece, leading to the repatriation of numerous UK holidaymakers. The evacuation experience was likened to that of a disaster film by some, as people were relocated to schools and sports centers while awaiting return flights. Several holiday resorts became uninhabitable due to the wildfires.
TUI indicated that the impact of these events was short-term, with last week’s bookings being 5% higher than the same period the previous year. This aligned with the general recovery trend in holiday bookings following the pandemic. However, the €25 million cost incurred by the company encompassed expenses related to cancellations, compensation, repatriation flights, and welfare.
The company emphasized that booking package tours through operators offers significant advantages and comprehensive services, particularly in extraordinary situations. Mr. Ebel noted that TUI planned to expand its range of destinations to mitigate potential risks in the future. He acknowledged that countries with milder temperatures, like the Nordic nations, could experience increased popularity as travel destinations. Nonetheless, the Mediterranean region remained a top choice for vacationers. TUI also considered introducing new insurance options for tourists traveling to areas affected by disruptions linked to climate change.
Recently, the company reported a third-quarter profit for the first time since the pandemic. Bookings for summer 2023 increased by 6% year-on-year, reaching 95% of the 2019 levels. TUI attributed its price hikes to the popularity of summer holidays and the ongoing willingness of customers to allocate funds for travel and experiences.
The company highlighted that this summer’s favored destinations included Turkey, the Caribbean, the Balearics, Greece, the Canaries, and Cape Verde.
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.
She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.