Home Travel Health No hotel buffets when holidays resume, says tour operator Tui

By Mark Sweney May 11, 2020

The travel group Tui has published detailed plans for how it will run its hotels after coronavirus travel restrictions are lifted, including limits on popular self-service buffets and a ban on football tournaments.

The UK’s biggest tour operator, which specialises in package holidays, plans to introduce the measures across all its own-brand hotels and make them “available” to joint-venture and partner hotels.

The 10-point plan, which will be implemented when strict coronavirus restrictions end, include reducing all-you-can eat buffets “to a minimum”.

“Self-service offers such as buffets will be reduced to a minimum,” the company said. “Wherever possible, food and beverages will be served to guests by staff wearing protective masks.”

Guests at Tui’s 400 hotels will also find their range of entertainment and activities curtailed to maintain physical distancing.

“Only events, sports and entertainment involving a small number of participants and without close contact will be made available,” Tui’s new rules state. “Golf or tennis, for example, can take place, but football tournaments cannot.”

Other measures include a push to online check-ins and employees keeping a 1.5m distance from guests in public areas such as restaurants, gyms and corridors. Tables in restaurants, which will operate at a “significantly” reduced capacity with longer hours to spread guest usage, will “only be cleaned when guests have vacated them”.

More disinfectant dispensers will be made available throughout Tui’s hotels, while “extensive new cleaning practices” will be put in place for rooms. Areas such as bathrooms and heavily used devices such as TV remote controls “will receive particular attention”.

“Customer surveys clearly indicate that safety and hygiene will be of paramount importance for holidaymakers after the lockdown,” said Sebastian Ebel, a member of the group’s executive board. “We are laying the foundations for an agile and safe return to business so we can be ready to offer our unique holiday experiences again as soon as possible.”

Tui said that it will be training all of its employees at its own hotels, starting this week. At partner hotels not operated by Tui, there will be a training and inspection programme using the hygiene and safety consultancy Cristal International Standards.

Tui said that its 10-point plan is in addition to statutory regulations at any holiday destination where it operates.

The company also said that the destination measures it has published form part of a wider package that includes plans in its retail outlets, flights, transfers to hotels, local excursions offered to holidaymakers and cruises.

“With this set of measures we are creating a framework required to ensure we can offer our guests enjoyable and safe holiday experiences as soon as travel restrictions are lifted,” said Ebel.

Tui has been forced to cancel trips affecting almost 1 million holidaymakers. At the end of last month the company cancelled all beach holidays involving travel on or before 11 June.

Cruises later in the year are also affected after the company postponed the launch of Tui River Cruises until 26 November.