Brits sacrifice holidays, says Thomas Cook

City A.M. Reporter
Thomas Cook, Europe’s second biggest travel firm, said UK bookings had slowed as cash-strapped Britons sacrifice their annual two weeks in the sun.

“Cumulative summer bookings remain ahead in most markets, although the rate of booking intake has slowed noticeably in the UK as a result of continued economic uncertainty,” the company said yesterday.

Thomas Cook said cumulative summer bookings in Britain were one per cent ahead of last year, sharply down from growth of six per cent when the group last updated the market.

British consumers have been increasingly unwilling to spend as muted earnings growth and higher inflation, fuelled by January’s rise in VAT and hikes in oil and food prices, bite into real incomes.

Historically Britons have been reluctant to give up their hard-earned summer holiday even when they are cutting back in other areas.

Thomas Cook said cumulative summer bookings were up four per cent in central Europe, which includes Germany, Austria and Switzerland; up 11 per cent in northern Europe; up nine per cent at Airlines Germany; but down one per cent in western and eastern Europe.

Earlier this week Peter Long, the boss of TUI Travel said demand for annual holidays was proving resilient.