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TUI axes last-minute holiday deals in blow for bargain-hunting sunseekers

By Brett Gibbons

The UK's largest tour operator has axed its last-minute bargains as customers demand for summer holidays surges. Holiday giant TUI will not be offering cut-price late deals as bookings rise above pre-pandemic levels.

Chief executive Fritz Joussen said the company will maintain its current pricing, unlike in previous years when holiday costs have been slashed to dispose of any remaining places. He said: “There will be practically no last-minute deals for this summer.

“Over the past six weeks, we’ve seen demand beyond 2019. We want to keep that momentum but aren’t going to suddenly shift to discounting.”

TUI said prices for this summer had risen by 20 per cent, but bosses stressed any increases were driven by customers choosing longer holidays and more expensive trips, including five-star hotels, as many people travel again for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic.

It came as the company more than halved its losses for the past six months as the rebound in customer numbers accelerated and bookings jumped. TUI said it expects a “strong” summer and the group has already achieved 85 per cent of the booking levels achieved in summer 2019, before it felt the impact of the pandemic.

The travel firm said its UK operation “continues to lead the way” for summer bookings, which currently show an 11 per cent increase against the levels seen in summer 2019. It has been buoyed by holidaymakers booking “more at short notice” and also spending more money on each trip.

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