TUI winter bookings at 78% of pre-pandemic levels

Figurines are seen in front of Tui logo

(Reuters) -Holiday group TUI on Tuesday stuck to its forecast of returning to profitability this year and said winter bookings stood at 78% of pre-pandemic levels.

The group, one of the world's largest tour operators, said bookings for the months of November and December were at 81% of 2018-19 levels and that it expected the trend of late or last-minute bookings to continue for the winter holidays.

"The Canaries, Mexico, Egypt and Cape Verde are likely to form a key part of our holiday offer this upcoming winter," TUI said in a statement.

The German company, which runs tour operators, travel agencies, airlines, hotels and cruise liners in holiday destinations across the world, had seen a summer revival as holidaymakers flocked to European and Caribbean beaches to enjoy their breaks following a pandemic hiatus.

However, there is a risk that the pent-up demand seen during the summer will not repeat this winter, as households tighten their purse strings on non-essential expenditures amid biting inflation that has increased the prices of everything from food to fuel.

TUI said it would return to profitability this year despite losses in the third quarter, adding that flight disruption costs remained at elevated levels but improved through the fourth quarter.

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)