Ian Livesey is head of TUI in the Balearics, Spain, Portugal and Andorra. He is looking forward to a good 2022, surprised by “how quickly we have come out of the pandemic in recent weeks”. Bookings for summer 2022 are currently positive and, as a group, TUI hope to have a summer with numbers close to 2019 levels.
He believes that summer 2022 will be like other years. “The Balearics will operate under the threat of the traditional competing destinations. The key objective is that we have to continue creating value, providing good service and offering the islands to all markets and with the same stamp of being competitive.”
Regarding the UK market, he stresses that it is key for the Balearic Islands but that everything will depend on the British government. “We know that restrictions in the UK have been tough when it comes to travel, and I hope that once more people are vaccinated and the pandemic is more under control, we can see a recovery in summer 2022. This is a very important market for the Balearics.
“Vaccinate, vaccinate and vaccinate. It is clear that vaccination works and it is very important that all countries around the world vaccinate their populations and also have booster vaccines. We have survived 18 months of the pandemic and we must continue along the same line.”
Looking back at this year’s season, Livesey observes that expectations in May had not been that positive. It was an “acceptable season” from July, given that the first months of the summer season were practically lost. Based on forecasts as they were, “the end-of-season result has been acceptable”.
Particular credit for this has to go to the Balearic government and to the hoteliers. “The management of the crisis by the government and hoteliers has been exemplary. There is no instruction manual for managing Covid. The Balearic Islands have always been a pioneer destination, and I believe that we have been able to demonstrate that the islands are indeed a safe destination.”
For hoteliers and tour operators, the pandemic has required that they adapt – to last-minute sales in particular. “Countries have constantly changed travel regulations and clients have generally waited until the last minute to book their holidays. Over recent years, companies have been investing heavily in digitalising systems. This has allowed us to be more efficient and to be able to work better with last-minute sales.”
As to the low season, he notes that this October TUI had more German clients than in October 2019. This market is also “short-term”, but “we continue to commit to Mallorca in the winter and look forward to a normal season”.
In more general terms, he emphasises just how essential air connectivity is for the islands, both from the mainland and from European countries. “The most important thing would be to maintain connectivity in the low-season months, as this would allow us to offer various types of activity and a different offer in the winter months. This would have an influence on tackling seasonality.”
Next summer is bound to be competitive, so what about prices? “Covid has shown that there is a lot of desire to travel. Therefore, I do not want to talk about a price war between competing destinations. The forecasts show that there will be a great deal of demand for next summer. Given this situation, there has to be a good commercial strategy in order to sell the islands well.”