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Tui scraps package tours outside Europe this summer

Summer in Jamaica, but not for this year. © Rock Staar for Unsplash

Tour operator Tui has announced it will be dropping non-European destinations from its package tour offer for this summer, because of the uncertainty of the Covid-19 situation.

According to the rules in place at the moment, non-essential travel outside the EU continues to be discouraged, if not entirely forbidden. Should the rules change and one or other destination find itself on a backlist, the airline would prefer not to be faced with disputes over cancellations.

Destinations involved include Cuba, Cap Verde, Mexico and Jamaica. Packages to distant destinations such as the Maldives are not available from 1 July to 31 August, and that situation will not change, the company said. For destinations closer to home, however, such as Turkey, a decision has yet to be made.

Normally we give everyone certainty three weeks before their departure whether their trip will go ahead or not,” said spokesperson Sarah Saucin. “Because we see little improvement in the red zones, we are already opting for clarity.”

Tui denied it was suffering financial problems that led to the decision. Package tours are already covered by a guarantee fund, so that many clients who had their holidays cancelled in 2019 when parent company Thomas Cook went under were covered.

The present parent, German company TUI AG, obtained one billion euros support from the German government, as well as raising millions from investors to see it through the coronavirus crisis.

Following the decision, the result is that many customers will be forced to re-book their holidays for a destination closer to home, and that could mean extra costs, for example with the loss of an early-booking discount.

Tui will continue to operate flights to other destinations, however, for passengers who have essential reasons to travel, or for those who have double nationality and wish to travel to their homeland.