TUI Group has reported first quarter revenue for 2021 of just €468.1 million, down from €3.85 billion a year ago.
Due to travel restrictions around the world, the hospitality giant also saw losses of €699 million on an adjusted basis for the first three months of the year, compared to a loss of €147 million last year.
However, the rollout of vaccines in the UK and across Europe has begun to boost confidence ahead of the summer.
TUI said customer demand for summer 2021 was strong despite major uncertainties, with 2.8 million bookings already made, with average prices up 20 per cent compared to summer 2019.
The company said it was planning to operate around 80 per cent of the summer 2019 programme.
Fritz Joussen, chief executive of TUI Group, said: “As expected, customers will book their summer holidays much later this year than in normal years.
“However, demand remains strong, people want to travel – this is shown by the already good number of bookings for the summer.
“A look at the historically high savings rate in the EU also underlines that the scope for consumer spending is high.
“The significant increase in spending on booked travel reflects this very clearly.
“Holidaymakers are catching up and are willing to pay more for their holidays.
“For tourism, but also for hospitality and cultural enterprises, this trend is a good signal.
“The market and customers are in the starting blocks; the demand is there. Everyone is waiting to earn their own income from the business again.”
Joussen added that the quick pace of vaccinations against Covid-19 in the UK could see travellers return to market earlier.
He continued: “Great Britain is economically a very important and large market for TUI.
“There, the vaccination campaign is progressing very rapidly; according to current plans, all Britons over 50 years of age are to receive a vaccination offer by the beginning of May.
“By mid-July, 75 per cent of the population there should have been vaccinated, so that herd immunity is achieved.
“This will have an immediate impact on the booking and travel behaviour of Britons for the summer of 2021.
“It also gives hope that the other European countries important to TUI will also be able to accelerate their vaccination strategies.
“In the transition period, rapid tests can play an important role, especially in tourism.
“We should use these opportunities wherever possible for the sake of the many millions of employees in the European tourism sector and the travellers.
“With uniform and reliable regulations on rapid tests, we can leave quarantine obligations and closed borders behind us.
“Rapid testing instead of quarantine is a demand of the travel industry, to which TUI also adheres.”