Peterborough’s Thomas Cook faces “volatile” holiday market

Thomas Cook Group's Peterborough base in Bretton.
Thomas Cook Group's Peterborough base in Bretton.
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Peterborough holiday giant Thomas Cook has revealed it is battling to cope with rapid changes in customer habits.

The tour operator says it is facing an increasingly volatile market place as holiday makers shun trouble spots and take longer to make up their minds about their choice of destinations.

But the company, which employs 1,115 people at its Bretton offices, says its early decisions to move flights away from trouble spots have enabled it to react quickly to customer demand for alternative resorts.

Chief executive Peter Fankhauser said: “Thomas Cook continues to operate in a volatile market environment.

“We know that customers want a summer holiday but we can see that some are leaving it later to book this year as they consider their options.

“The early actions we took to move flights away from Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt have positioned us well for increased customer demand to resorts in the Western Mediterranean, with strong sales to the Canaries, Balearics and the Spanish mainland in recent weeks.

“We have also seen an increase in sales to long-haul destinations such as the USA and Cuba as customers look further afield for their holidays.

He added: “Against this backdrop I remain confident that we are doing all the right things as a business.

“It’s clear also that customers value packaged travel more than ever and feel safer in our hands.”

In its latest trading statement, Thomas Cook said the winter season is ending as expected, with 90 per cent of its programme sold - two per cent lower than at the same time last year.

It says the summer 2016 season is 40 per cent - also two per cent lower than at this time last year

The statement adds that the UK is continuing to improve its performance, with average selling prices up by four per cent for package holidays and one per cent for seat-only, while total bookings are below last year’s levels due to the later booking pattern.

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