TUI suffers in winter chaos

SNOW disruption in the UK and political upheaval in Tunisia hit bookings at tour operator TUI Travel, the company said in a trading update.

The Thomson Holidays owner said booking volumes had dipped by one per cent in early December as the big chill took its toll.

As well as the hit from the cold weather TUI cancelled all flights to Tunisia on 15 January following political unrest in the North African country.

However, Europe’s largest travel operator, said its winter bookings to 16 January are up three per cent overall.

Chief executive Peter Long said there was a clear trend for TUI customers to book holidays on the internet and the company would be expanding its online operation.

The tour operator, which is German owned, said it would “remain cautious given the uncertain economic and geopolitical environment”.

The company is also in the middle of a three-year cost-cutting drive, which will bring up to £100m worth of savings, and said it was on track to meet its targets.

TUI’s full results are due next week.