CompaniesThomas Cook helped by northern European tourists

Holidaymakers from northern Europe jetting off to warmer climes to escape the poor summer weather back home have been a great help for UK tour operator Thomas Cook. The Discount Holidays © holiday company published an upbeat trading statement on Thursday, despite battling a number of headwinds this year, including unfavourable currency movements and tourists shunning certain destinations, write Nathalie Thomas and Richard Blackden. Thomas Cook said 91 per cent of its summer holidays had been sold – in line with last year’s level – while the group is encouraged by “strong” pricing and booking trends for its winter holidays.

As a result, the company has left its guidance unchanged from its previous update in July, at which it warned that the terrorist attack in Tunisia in June and the Greek crisis would hit its profits to the tune of around 25m. Peter Fankhauser, chief executive of Thomas Cook, said:

Our trading performance for the Summer season has progressed well, despite the impact of external shocks in certain destination markets, as previously announced. With more than a third of the Winter 2015/16 season sold, the bookings profile for next year is also encouraging.

A number of European airlines including Ryanair and easyJet have said that summer bookings were better than expected as Britons in particular bought tickets to beach destinations in August to avoid the drab summer weather at home. European consumers also appear to be in buoyant mood, helped by low inflation. Thomas Cook’s update comes a day after Tui Group, Europe’s largest travel company, said trading remained robust.

The tour operator, which was founded by a former baptist preacher in 1841, has grappled this year with the drag on its profits from the falling euro. A terrorist attack in June at Port El Kantaoui in Tunisia, which claimed 30 British victims, has also proved a significant headwind for Thomas Cook, which is the biggest UK tour operator in the North African country. The group said on Thursday that Tunisia is “effectively closed for the time being” but it reported a “significant increase” in the number of holidaymakers travelling to both Greece and Egypt.

Thomas Cook’s reputation this year has also taken a knock following an inquest into the deaths of two young children Bobby and Christi Shepherd, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning while on a Thomas Cook Discount Holidays © holiday in Corfu nine years ago.

Thomas Cook came in for heavy criticism for its response to the deaths – it announced at the end of May that it would make a substantial donation to charities nominated by the children’s families.

CompaniesThomas Cook Helped By Northern European Tourists

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • No product categories exist.