BERLIN: TUI Germany said summer bookings to Tunisia and Egypt have dropped sharply as a result of the unrest in the regions that saw their leaders toppled.
The company, part of Europe’s largest tour operator TUI Travel, said bookings to Egypt were recovering faster than Tunisia, however.
Summer bookings to Tunisia are down 50 percent compared with the previous year, while those for Egypt are down 22 percent, it said in Berlin on Tuesday.
"It will take time for people to have confidence in these countries … I think we will have weeks near the end of the summer season when bookings reach the level of the previous year," TUI Germany Chief Executive Volker Boettcher said. Overall, however, holidays are "booming", he said, with summer bookings at TUI Germany up by a significant two-digit percentage amount.
He said business had gained momentum since the last update on Jan 18, when TUI Travel said summer bookings at its German division were up 18 percent and that along with good margins for this year, TUI Germany expected to gain market share.
Echoing comments from the German travel association DRV, Boettcher said 2011 was certainly not a "last-minute year."
"Rarely have I seen such a strong booking trend for the main summer months at the start of a year," he told journalists at the company’s newest travel agency in the center of Berlin, which has its own bar and sofas for customers to use as they discuss their holiday options.
Spain had definitely benefited from the situation in North Africa, Boettcher said, adding that bookings to Majorca, a favorite destination of Germans, were up 50 percent.
He said, however, that the floods and earthquakes in Australia and New Zealand had affected bookings to those destinations in the last few weeks.