TUI Group has reported a total loss of €3.1 billion for financial 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic sweeps across the world.
The figure was a huge decline on the profit of €532 million seen last year.
The travel giant saw revenue of €7.9 billion, down 58 per cent from the €18.9 billion reported in 2019.
However, TUI sought to put a brave face on the results, arguing the corner had been turned at that next summer was looking a lot brighter.
The company said average prices were up 14 per cent for next year, while bookings were three per cent higher than for summer 2019.
Demand for travel is also rising, TUI said, with 50 per cent of the programme for May next year already booked.
TUI Group chief executive, Fritz Joussen, said: “The pandemic is not over, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and the prospects for tourism and for TUI are good.
“The demand for holiday travel is there – consumers in all age groups say that travelling is one of the most missed activities for them in the Corona year.
“Next year will be a transition year for tourism, and 2022 is expected to see a return to pre-Corona levels.
“In particular, the holiday sector will recover faster than the sector as a whole.”
The first five months of the 2020 financial year (October 2019 to February 2020) were very successful for TUI, with a record booking increase of 14 per cent in January.
In mid-March, the group had to completely discontinue all travel activities due to a series of worldwide travel warnings.
The tourism group was only able to generate revenue again when it was able to fly its first holiday guests to Majorca in mid-June in a pilot project and a limited resumption of operations from July onwards.
Greece was particularly strong as a holiday destination in 2020.
Joussen added: “The rapid measures to cut costs and secure liquidity are important for the group.
“They are a stable foundation for the future.
“TUI was in perfect health before the crisis and we want to return to our former strength as quickly as possible.
“The market is intact, our business model is future-proof and customer demand is there.”