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Tour operator TUI confirms full-year outlook on back of strong bookings

LONDON, Sept 19 (Reuters) – Tour group TUI (TUI1n.DE) on Tuesday confirmed its full-year outlook for the 2023 financial year, citing strong bookings in the summer and upcoming winter season despite extreme weather from flooding to heatwaves disrupting flights and holidays.

European airlines benefited from a bumper tourist season on demand for post-pandemic holidays across the continent, but extreme weather dampened some of the optimism about a strong travel rebound.

Summer bookings for 2023 were at 13.7 million, up 5% over the previous summer season, the company said in a statement.

“Had it not been for the various events during the last few months which were outside of our control, not least the wildfires on Rhodes, we would have performed ahead of expectations,” CEO Sebastian Ebel said in a statement.

Forward bookings were up 15% against winter of 2022 and 2023, the company said, while summer bookings were at 96% of pre-pandemic levels.

Even as Europe battled extreme weather that sparked unprecedented levels of disruption, the company said it was on track to reconfirm its underlying earnings before interest and tax would increase substantially for the fourth quarter and the year, with continued growth set for 2025 and 2026.

Eurocontrol said in July that weather-related air travel disruption was two and a half times higher than in 2022, with thunderstorms being the largest cause of delay.

Last week, the tour firm said it was monitoring adverse weather conditions in its key destinations. Earlier it forecast losses at up to 25 million euros due to wildfires on the Greek islands.

Reporting by Joanna Plucinska; editing by Louise Heavens and Jason Neely

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Joanna reports on airlines and travel in Europe, including tourism trends, sustainability and policy. She was previously based in Warsaw, where she covered politics and general news. She wrote stories on everything from Chinese spies to migrants stranded in forests along the Belarusian border. In 2022, she spent six weeks covering the war in Ukraine, with a focus on the evacuation of children, war reparations and evidence that Russian commanders knew of sexual violence by their troops. Joanna graduated from the Columbia Journalism School in 2014. Before joining Reuters, she worked in Hong Kong for TIME and later in Brussels reporting on EU tech policy for POLITICO Europe.

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