TUI Travel bookings are starting to improve for this summer in the UK but remain down on last year while average selling prices are 10% up.
UK bookings for the parent company of Thomson and First Choice for the last four weeks are 7% down year on year, compared to cumulative bookings, which are 18% down. Sales of non-euro destinations continue to show growth, with Turkey bookings up 8%, Egypt up 18% and all-inclusive holidays up 13% for the summer season.
Trading figures up to March 15 show average selling prices for UK charter holidays for this summer are 10% up year on year, based on a capacity reduction of 17%, which could be reduced further if necessary.
There are 14% less holidays left to sell in the UK compared to this time last year, while charter holiday sales up to March 15 are 10% down and customer numbers are 18% down. Total load factors for the UK stand at 45% – one percentage point behind last year.
Summer 2009 bookings across other parts of the group have also improved. In the last four weeks bookings are 2% up for the Nordic region, 9% down for Germany, 8% up for Belgium, and 18% down for the Netherlands. However, bookings in France for the past month are 25% down, primarily due to political events in Guadeloupe, Martinique and Madagascar.
Meanwhile, the winter 2008/2009 programme for the UK is now 93% sold, with average selling prices on charter holidays continuing to be 10% higher. Year on year sales are 2% down for winter and customer numbers are 11% behind on a capacity reduction of 9%. In the last four weeks winter trading has improved further, with average selling prices up 11%.
The trading figures were released with the group’s results for the first quarter, ending December 31, 2008, showing underlying operating losses for the group have been reduced year on year by £28.4 million, from a loss of £63.3 million to a £34.9 million loss. Annual synergy targets for the group have been increased by £25 million to £200 million, with £28 million delivered in the first quarter. The group is now confident it will achieve savings of £115 million in the current financial year.
TUI Travel chief executive Peter Long said: “I am pleased with our trading performance across our key source markets and programmes. Pricing is strong as we continue to recover our cost input inflation, while consumer demand continues to improve despite the economic conditions.”
* TUI to buy Adventure Tours Australia (Travel Weekly, March 2009)
* TUI could close Salford office (Travel Weekly, February 2009)
* Sales through TUI shops jump since XL collapse (Travel Weekly, February 2009)