Published on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

UK summer bookings are flat, says Thomas Cook

Thomas Cook revealed this morning that its UK bookings for summer 2017 are flat, while average selling prices are up.

Its charter-based package holiday prices have risen 9%, but bookings are slightly behind last year. Thomas Cook said part of the reason for the increase in prices was due to its focus on higher-end holidays.

"In the UK, amid a more competitive market to the Spanish Islands as we highlighted in our last update, our focus remains on selling higher margin, quality holidays rather than pursuing volume growth," said chief executive Peter Fankhauser.

For the UK market as a whole, including seat-only and non-risk package holidays, bookings are flat overall and average selling prices have risen 3%.

Group-wide, the travel giant's summer 2017 programme is 42% sold, 1% ahead of last year, but bookings to Greece are up 40% year on year.

Smaller European destinations including Cyprus, Bulgaria, Croatia and Portugal are selling well, while sales to Turkey and Egypt are also picking up after a tough 2016 and a slow start to summer 2017, it said.

"Following strong growth last year, bookings to the Spanish Islands have levelled off in a very competitive market. Competition is particularly intense in the airline sector, putting downward pressure on pricing," said Fankhauser.

Thomas Cook's 2016/17 winter programme is 90% sold, with bookings up 1% year on year but average selling prices down 1%. In the UK, it's programme is 88% sold, with bookings up 6% and selling prices also down 1%.

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