TUI’s boss has said he is “optimistic” Brits can still enjoy a summer holiday this year with a successful vaccination programme.

In an interview with the BBC, Tui Group chief executive Friedrich Joussen said bookings in March had hit 2.8 million, with the company expecting to operate up to 75% of its normal schedule for the summer season.

Britons are set to be allowed to travel abroad for foreign holidays from May 17 under the Government’s road map to easing coronavirus restrictions.

Speaking to BBC the boss of Europe’s largest tour company was confident the summer holiday season could be saved.

Mr Joussen told the broadcaster: “We are still confident that we will have a decent summer.

“All medical advice we are getting as a company says that existing vaccines are working with existing variants.

“Now they might be less efficient sometimes, but still it’s much better than not being vaccinated.”

Mr Joussen also said he thinks a negative test result would be just as effective as a vaccine passport in preventing the spread of the virus, though he admitted the tests would need to be cheaper for the strategy to be successful.

The news comes as EasyJet’s chief executive Johan Lundgren said he expected most major European destinations to be on the government’s “green list” this summer.

sked if he expects destinations such as France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Cyprus and Turkey to be on the Government “green list”, Mr Lundgren replied: “Yes, by the time we open up for travel on the 17th of May and if the Government continues to have the plan in place on the two-test system.

“I wouldn’t see reason why you wouldn’t have the majority of the countries of Europe in there.

“We really believe that, if you’re in the ‘green’ category, there should not be any need of any testing at all because it would be considered low-risk.

“Now, if there is a PCR and a lateral flow test needed in there, by the time we get to the 17th of May, and the rollout of the vaccination programme that seems to be picking up everywhere we look around Europe, I would struggle to see – unless something happened between now and then – that there would be many countries who wouldn’t be in that ‘green’ category.

“But, like I said, that decision lies within the Government and we urge them to come out and specify very shortly on what those countries will be.”