The Canary Islands Government Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Yaiza Castilla, held a meeting on Gran Canaria on Thursday evening, February 25th with the CEO and the financial director of the TUI Group, Sebastian Ebel. He confirmed they have good forecasts for the Canary Islands, within the moderation required by the current situation due to the pandemic, as it is “the only destination in the area of Europe and North Africa with the capacity to be open to tourism at all times and for its security measures and contagion control ”.
The meeting was part of the round of talks that the Minister Yaiza Castilla is maintaining with the main tourism companies, to learn about their short and medium-term plans. Also present were TUI’s director for the Canary Islands, Cape Verde and West Africa, Linda Phelps, and the managing director of Promotur Turismo de Islas Canarias, José Juan Lorenzo.
Representing the largest tourist group in the world, they stressed that the good forecasts for Canary Islands ranks them currently as the premium destination at the international level “and this is not by chance. It is the result of a coordinated effort by both the Government and the islands’ tourism companies ”, which has given the Archipelago added value in the face of demand for the coming months.
Sebastian Ebel added that they are very optimistic about the good forecasts for reactivation of tourist flows in Europe for this summer, especially in the United Kingdom and German markets, in which they predominate, and that the Canary Islands “will start with an advantage already from this March, precisely because of that condition of being a unique destination, with an excellent health and safety offering, which has made sure the islands are very much on the minds of our clients,” he said.
Without specifying any of their data on reservations from the different markets in which it operates, TUI announced that during the confinement, german families have been saving money, so it is estimated that when the restrictions on mobility are lifted, “people are going to be willing to invest it on vacations”. All this encouraged by the vaccination of the population and by measures that give confidence such as the use of health passports, a tool that he considers essential “to support the business in the coming months.”
Sebastian Ebel did call attention to the insufficient air capacity that exists right now with the Islands, for which he advocated that the Spanish administrations help the companies to provide capacity during the first months, as other destinations such as Egypt and Turkey do and given that in Spain the air taxes are very high.
In this regard, the Minister of Tourism informed the CEO and financial director about an imminent call for incentives for air connectivity that her Department will carry out for this year 2021 in two phases: the first for flights operated between April and May and , the second, for flights that take place in the second half of the year, through an incentive of 4 euros per seat offered by the airlines with the Canary Islands.
Before the pandemic, in 2019 TUI transported 2.5 million tourists to the Canary Islands from Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries.
The volume of passengers in TUI group airlines in 2020 was 72% less than in the previous year in line with the fall in international air traffic worldwide.
“Travel in Europe will be possible in summer 2021”
TUI CEO Fritz Joussen says on the occasion of the EU summit on the 2021 holiday season:
“Travelling in Europe will be possible in summer 2021 – safely and responsibly. We are preparing intensively for this at TUI. TUI is already in close coordination with Greece, Spain and Cyprus. Talks are to be extended to other holiday destinations in the western and eastern Mediterranean in the coming weeks. The desire for holidays has been high throughout the pandemic. Demand and bookings are picking up after the UK government unveiled a timetable for an end to the COVID restrictions. Germany is also preparing to restart and exit the lockdown. It is clear that interest in holidays is turning into bookings and revenues again.
Especially the governments of the southern European countries have developed good concepts for the restart and presented them in recent weeks. At the core of these plans are rapid tests, vaccinations and uniform proof of immunity. A European vaccination passport can help restore freedom to travel. There is no doubt about that. With a uniform EU certificate, politicians can now create an important basis for summer travel. As long as not everyone can be vaccinated, rapid tests are the second important building block for safe holidays. They are reliable and are now available in sufficient numbers.”