Cost of holidays up 27 per cent since 2019, says travel giant Tui

Sunny days: Tui says sales are soaring at higher prices  (Simon Calder)
Sunny days: Tui says sales are soaring at higher prices (Simon Calder)

Holidaymakers are paying over a quarter more than they did in 2019, according to the travel giant Tui.

In a pre-close trading update, the Anglo-German travel giant revealed the average selling price for summer 2023 is up 27 per cent on the same spell in 2019, and 8 per cent higher than last year.

Tui confirmed wildfires in Rhodes and other events had impacted its profitability. In July around 20,000 holidaymakers, many of them Tui customers, were evacuated after fires raged in the centre and east of the Greek island.

Travel firms suspended operations for over a week at what is normally the height of the holiday season.

But the Anglo-German travel firm reported “positive momentum continuing into winter 2023/24 supported by higher prices”.

In terms of the number of holidaymakers, summer bookings are 5 per cent up on 2022, but still 4 per cent short of pre-pandemic levels.

Forward winter holiday bookings from the UK are up 15 per cent in the past four weeks compared with a year ago, with average selling prices 3 per cent higher.

Tui Group’s chief executive, Sebastian Ebel, said: “Had it not been for the various events during the last few months which were outside of our control, not least the wildfires on Rhodes, we would have performed ahead of expectations.”

Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of the Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “It’s not surprising that Tui’s results were impacted by number of exceptional events this year, which will have hit tour operators large and small. However, their results show how resilient the industry has been this year and continues to be.”

More recently severe storms have hit some parts of Greece and Turkey. But the appetite for eastern Mediterranean holidays is so strong that Tui has extended its normal season in Greece and Turkey “to accommodate increased demand”.

The company said: “We recently announced the extension of the season into November in particular to Turkey and Greece, to cover demand outside the traditional summer season.”

The last Tui flight back from Rhodes to London Gatwick is on 12 November, around two weeks later than normal, with flights to and from Antalya in Turkey continuing for a further week.

Ashley Quint, director of the Hertfordshire travel agency Travel Time World said: “Travel remains a priority for many, despite continued high inflation, higher interest rates and natural disasters.

“The demand has reinforced substantial price increases across the industry, which has forced some to trade down to shorter durations or destinations where there is better value.

“Off-peak travel is also gaining momentum, as we see with the longer Greek season now starting in April through to the middle of November, where pricing is more attractive without the searing heat of the height of the summer.”

Tui predicts a “significant” profits rise for the full financial year when it reports on 6 December.