Canary Islands Government met with TUI CEO to talk about the winter season

Published on August 31, 2020
Canary IslandsNews from Canary Islands
canary islands government met with tui ceo
Image source: Gobierno de Canarias

President Ángel Víctor Torres and the Minister of Tourism, Yaiza Castilla, trust in being able to recover tourism, which is why it's necessary to reduce the incidence of the pandemic in the archipelago soon. This is expected to be achieved with the new measures approved and the responsibility of the population.

The president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, and the Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Yaiza Castilla, held a meeting this morning, Monday, August 31, with the CEO of the TUI group, Sebastian Ebel, to talk about a plan that could save the upcoming winter season.

In the meeting, they also talked about establishing strategies that guarantee the flow of tourists to the islands, but for this to happen it is crucial that the Canaries reduce their Covid-19 infection rate as soon as possible. This way, the islands could be removed from the "quarantine list" of many European countries that provide tourists to the archipelago in winter. 

This was an important meeting for the future of tourism in the Canary Islands, and the Canarian executives thanked the CEO of TUI for traveling to Gran Canaria to attend this meeting in person.

Torres also stressed that the Canary Islands are adopting "all the necessary measures and decisions to reverse the current situation of COVID-19 in the Islands" because the islands need to try to lower the current infection rate.

The President of the Canary Islands once again emphasized the importance of citizen commitment for the application of the anti-COVID measures and made another call for the responsibility of the Canarian community in this sense.

Torres acknowledged that the islands need to make an effort to reverse the situation as soon as possible, so as to continue to be regarded as a "safe destination" for tourists. 

The head of the regional government stressed how important it is to guarantee the safety of visitors, which is why the Canarian Government considers that it is essential to carry out PCR tests both at origin and destination.

Since the world crisis began due to this pandemic, it is the fourth meeting that the Government of the Canary Islands has held with the largest tour operator in the world, with the aim of working on the recovery of tourist activity in the Archipelago.

This meeting today is crucial for the success of the winter season, which begins in November, when the Canary Islands remain the only viable sun and beach destination in Europe.

Ebel, TUI's CEO, pointed out in this regard that "the Canary Islands are right now the only winter sun and beach destination with a great capacity to accommodate European demand."

Ebel proposed the involvement of the TUI group in promoting the Canary Islands as a safe destination, “because we know that it is safe and that now the outbreaks are in the cities (where the residents are), not in the tourist areas, but we need a lower incidence rate overall so that the legal framework" will support the restart of tourism in the Canaries. This was said, "in reference to the warnings and quarantine decisions of various countries".

According to Sebastian Ebel, they currently have a forecast for the travel demand of three million people for the winter, which, after removing the demand for ski tourism, could be channeled to the Canary Islands. He also admitted that right now, given the general uncertainty surrounding the whole virus situation, the last-minute reservations are what make up most of the holiday packages sold. "Customers still want to travel, especially in winter," he said.

For her part, Yaiza Castilla highlighted the place that the Canary Islands have earned as a safe and reliable destination thanks to the continuous and permanent communication that has been maintained with potential clients since the beginning of the pandemic. “This commitment to the safety and tranquility of our visitors”, she explained, “has also been reinforced by the travel assistance policy that covers the needs of medical expenses, health repatriation and extension of stay due to quarantines of our tourists ”.

Canary Islands Tourism trusts that this autumn there will be a recovery in demand and, although Castilla acknowledges that “it is very difficult to make an accurate forecast of what will happen between now and the end of the year, with the little data available.

It's also not possible to expect that between now and December 2020, air connectivity will recover more than 60% of what was usual for that time in the Canary Islands.

September and October will be very difficult months, but the Canary Islands Government officials are confident that November and December will help the archipelago close the year 2020 with an accumulated figure of five million tourists, which would mean a drop of 66% from last year. 

TUI is the largest travel group in the world currently. It has a market share in Germany of 27.7% (as of January 2020) and in the Canary Islands, after the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook, it has a market share of 34.4%.

Like the entire travel sector, the lockdown completely paralyzed the group's activity for three months and it resumed activity with Spain from July 1.

In July 2020, TUI brought 47,000 passengers to the Archipelago, this is 78% less than in the same month of 2019 when it had transported 216,000 tourists to the Islands. 

Taking into account the restrictions currently in force in different countries, it is estimated that the capacity that TUI operates weekly to the Canary Islands now amounts to 18,000 seats, which would mean 72,000 visitors in total per month, still far from the 174,000 regular seats that the tour operator had scheduled to the islands in August 2019.

For the winter season, TUI expects to recover between 30% and 40% of their activity, according to forecasts released today by its CEO.

Source: Canary Islands Government (Gobierno de Canarias)

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