China office of Tui resumes selling domestic package holidays as the firm urges the EU to lift coronavirus travel restrictions
- Resumption of business is focused on short breaks to the mountains and beach
- Tui chief executive says there is a ‘significant backlog of demand for holidays’
- Tourism industry is watching trends in China for clues to future travel patterns
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
The Chinese unit of Germany’s Tui, the world’s biggest tourism group, said it has resumed offering holiday packages in China and the group has urged the European Union to lift travel restrictions in place to curb the coronavirus.
The resumption of business in China, three months after Tui’s activities there were halted, is focused on short breaks in the mountains and beach resorts.
Other packages include trips in the vicinity of big cities.
Tui has resumed offering holiday packages in China and urged the European Union to lift travel restrictions in place to curb the coronavirus
Tui chief executive Fritz Joussen said in a statement: ‘Our offices in Peking and Shanghai were open during the crisis but were not allowed to sell holiday packages.
‘We now see a significant backlog of demand for holidays.
‘Tui China will in the coming weeks broaden its offers step by step.’
The global tourism industry is closely watching trends in China for clues to travel patterns in other major markets once the virus, which has infected 3.44million people and killed 243,00 worldwide, is under control and curbs on movement ease.
Since April, there have been signs of a recovery in China’s tourism market, and aviation experts expect domestic travel in most markets will recover before international travel.
Travel within China is also complicated by movement curbs retained in some regions, such as Beijing, the capital, to guard against a second wave of infections from aboard.
Joussen urged the EU to put in place a concept that allows for the resumption of holiday travel within the bloc, where border restrictions have been in place since March.
‘The EU and its member states should develop a timetable for resuming travel within Europe and make holidays possible in 2020,’ he said, citing Greece, Cyprus, Spanish islands, Austria and Bulgaria, which have made progress toward reopening resorts.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer ruled out reopening Germany’s border with Austria to holidaymakers in an interview with mass-selling Bild newspaper, citing the risk of a second coronavirus outbreak.
The Ischgl ski resort has been linked to hundreds of coronavirus cases in Germany and Scandinavian countries.
Heathrow Airport pictured last month. The chief executive of the airport has warned that social distancing would require kilometre-long queues for each jumbo jet
Meanwhile, the chief executive of London’s Heathrow Airport has warned that implementing social distancing at airports would require kilometre-long queues for each jumbo jet.
John Holland-Kaye says that the UK’s major international airports do not have enough space for social distancing to be a solution for safe travel post-lockdown.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, he said: ‘Forget social distancing – it won’t work in aviation or any other form of public transport, and the problem is not the plane, it is the lack of space in the airport.
‘Just one jumbo jet would require a queue a kilometre long.’
Mr Holland-Kaye called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to quickly find a ‘common international standard’ of alternative solutions that could be installed in time for summer.
Mandatory health checks for passengers, increased levels of hygiene and compulsory facemasks are among the options floated by Mr Holland-Kaye in order to open the nation’s airports as soon as possible and avoid ‘massive job losses in our sector… (and) many other sectors that depend on us’.
He added that social distancing on planes would reduce capacities by more than 50 per cent and mean ‘prices would shoot up’.
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