Thomas Cook share price edges down while holiday markets in Turkey and Egypt show signs of recovery

Courtney Goldsmith
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Beaches Draw Summer Tourists To Lefkada Island
Greece is the top destination for Thomas Cook customers this summer (Source: Getty)

Holiday bookings are up and tourists are returning to Turkey and Egypt as customers refuse to let political and economic uncertainty get in the way of their summer travels, Thomas Cook said in a trading update today.

The figures

Europe's second-largest travel firm said winter bookings grew one per cent and average selling prices edged down one per cent compared with the same period the previous year.

For the six months to the end of March, bookings in the UK increased six per cent. Meanwhile, bookings in continental Europe and northern Europe fell two per cent and one per cent respectively.

Summer bookings jumped 10 per cent compared with a weak period last year when a series of geopolitical events hit sales. Holidaymakers are favouring getaways in Greece, where bookings swelled 40 per cent, as well as smaller European destinations like Cyprus, Bulgaria, Croatia and Portugal.

Thomas Cook said trading for the group is progressing in line with expectations.

Shares in the FTSE 250 firm fell 2.43 per cent at 87.18p in morning trading.

Why it's interesting

Investors were disappointed last month when Thomas Cook said it was "cautious" about the year ahead, reflecting the uncertain political and economic outlook.

However, chief executive Peter Fankhauser painted a somewhat sunnier picture today, saying: "Customers' appetite to go abroad on holiday this summer is good across all our markets despite continued political and economic uncertainty."

Fankhauser added: "After a slow start to the season and a tough year in 2016, we're seeing early signs that customers are beginning to go back to Turkey and Egypt."

The company, which arranges holidays for around 20m people per year, said it has some pressure on margins in parts of the business due to increased competition, particularly in the airline sector.

What Thomas Cook said

Fankhauser said:

"As we look ahead to the rest of the year, I am confident that the work we're doing to strengthen the quality and appeal of our holiday offering will win more fans for Thomas Cook, demonstrating continued progress in our transformation to put our customers at the heart of the business."

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