Belfast Telegraph

TUI sticks by earnings goal despite Hurricane Irma hit

The travel giant said its primary focus has been on supporting holidaymakers in resorts impacted by the storm and rebooking alternative destinations.

Thomson owner Tui has said it is on track for a double-digit surge in annual profits despite a hit from the recent devastating hurricanes across the Caribbean and Florida.

The travel giant said its “primary focus” has been on supporting holidaymakers in resorts impacted by Hurricane Irma, as well as rebooking customers in alternative destinations.

Tui did not give an overall cost of the impact of Irma on its business, but a spokesman said it saw “lower double-digit” costs for cancellations, customer care and repatriation for holidaymakers across Florida, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and some smaller locations like St Martin.

But the group stuck by aims to grow annual underlying earnings by at least 10% in the year to the end of September.

It said this shows the “resilience of our business model and our ability to deal with such external unforeseen events”.

Tui has around a million holidaymakers a year in the Caribbean, which was hit badly by Hurricane Irma.

Some islands were more than 90% flattened by the storm.

Fellow travel group Thomas Cook said on Wednesday that 22,000 of its customers were in destinations impacted by Irma, with 15,500 from the UK.

In its full-year trading update, Tui confirmed it was due to roll out its group-wide rebrand across the UK in the “coming weeks” – a move which will see Tui replace brands such as Thomson.

It added that trading in the UK remained in line with a strong performance from a year earlier, despite the Brexit-hit pound pushing up holiday costs for Britons travelling abroad.

The group said its UK business was 37% sold for the winter season, with average selling prices 10% higher although customer numbers were down 7%.

Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.