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NEWS


a: Portugal is be among


wave of ons approved orridors’


Tui reveals phased holidays comeback


Lucy Huxley


Tui will begin a “staggered reopening” of its retail network next month and start summer holidays for UK customers. About 80 shops will open


across the UK from July 6, while more than 750 retail staff are already working from home. Half of shops are likely to be


open by the end of July. Speaking on a Travel Weekly


to restart July 4 We have a review


date of the quarantine policy [on June 29] and we’ll publish what we plan to do in good time


Portugal, Germany and Belgium are reportedly in line for initial ‘air corridor’ agreements. The Netherlands is likely to be


included as Eurostar services are set to restart. Cyprus and Malta should also have ‘corridors’ and media reports have identified Turkey as on the corridors ‘list’, although Germany has extended travel restrictions to the country to the end of August. Health secretary Matt Hancock


confirmed on Monday: “A lot of work has been done on travel corridors. We have a formal review date of the


travelweekly.co.uk


quarantine policy [on June 29] and we’ll make sure we publish what we plan to do in good time.” However, the market opening


will be limited. Most airlines are expecting to operate no more than 40%-50% of short-haul capacity by August. Tui, which announced its plans to restart from July 11, made a similar forecast. A leisure industry source said:


“There is a general feeling of lightening. The announcements on Tuesday should help.” Spain removed its threat of


quarantining UK visitors at the weekend. Foreign minister Arancha González Laya said: “We will allow British visitors to enter Spain just like the rest of the EU.” However, the government could


face a legal challenge from the European Commission unless it eases restrictions to all EU states.


webcast, commercial director Richard Sofer said: “We’re going to open the biggest stores first as they’re the easiest ones to have social distancing for customers.” He added that Tui would


be “constantly reviewing” the reopening of smaller branches. Retail director Belinda Vazquez


said Perspex screens will be in place at desks, social distancing markers added and new disinfecting regimes introduced. Tui declared it is “ready to


take Brits on holiday again” on Sunday and announced its tour operation is due to return to eight destinations in Greece, the Balearics and Canaries from Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham from July 11.


Up to 8,300 holidaymakers


could travel on 44 weekly flights to Corfu, Crete, Kos, Rhodes, Ibiza, Majorca, Lanzarote and Tenerife. By the end of July, Tui plans to


offer 19 destinations from five UK airports, subject to government advice, and Sofer predicted a “ramping up” of the programme could see Tui operate at 40%-45% of “normal” levels by August. UK and Ireland managing


director Andrew Flintham said: “We’ve been working really hard behind the scenes. Initially, we’re focusing on destinations where we anticipate air bridges being in place.” Flintham said the Tui Holiday


Promise of five safety guarantees would reassure customers. New safety measures include face masks and hand sanitiser on flights and at hotels along with social distancing and extra cleaning protocols. The firm admitted shortcomings


in its handling of refunds, but Sofer said Tui “did a good job in the circumstances” and defended its policy of offering incentives that “more than covered” price rises for rebookings. He revealed 40% of the “huge volumes” of Tui customers who faced cancellations had accepted refund credit notes.


Left: Richard Sofer. Tui


will start operating holiday flights from the UK on July 11


25 JUNE 2020


5


PICTURES: Shutterstock; Shaun Flannery Photography


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