Coronavirus: Tui cancels beach holidays for five weeks due to pandemic

The UK’s largest travel firm has cancelled its beach holidays for the next five weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tui said on Wednesday that all trips up to and including 14 May were being axed and its Marella Cruises sailings have been suspended until at least June.

It comes amid global travel restrictions due to the coronavirus, which has infected more than 1.4 million people worldwide, with more than 82,000 deaths.

A Tui spokeswoman said: “We are constantly monitoring the situation and will start taking people on holiday again as soon as we are able to do so.

“At this point in time, nobody can accurately predict when that will be, so for the time being we will keep a close eye on our programme and continue to amend and adapt timings in line with the latest global travel advice.”

She added that customers with a cancelled booking “will be able to amend their holiday to any other Tui package holiday on sale” via its website.

The firm did not clarify whether consumers would have their bookings refunded.

Under EU law, travel companies must offer to refund customers within 14 days if their package holiday is cancelled but, facing many thousands of cancellations, the industry has warned that many firms will not survive if forced to pay out immediately.

Trade association ABTA has called for the UK Government to allow holiday companies to issue refund credit notes instead of cash refunds due to the deluge of claims caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

This would allow customers to re-book for another date with protection from ABTA or ATOL. The protection would last until the end of July at which point, if the credit has not been used, a customer can get a cash refund.

This would give customers the comfort of knowing they will get their money back if they cannot use the credit or if the travel company collapses, while also giving travel companies a bit more time to get through the large volume of cancellations they need to process.

ABTA said on Wednesday that it is still waiting for action and guidance from the UK government.

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