Peterborough’s Thomas Cook sees recovery after decline in holiday bookings

Thomas Cook Group's Peterborough base in Bretton.
Thomas Cook Group's Peterborough base in Bretton.
  • First quarter revenue up 1% to £1,409m
  • Growth in sales of holidays to Spain and Caribbean
  • Sustained customer confidence key to future success
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Sales of holidays to Spain and long haul destinations have helped Peterborough travel giant Thomas Cook combat the impact of terrorism.

The Bretton-based company says that terrorist outrages in Paris and Istanbul had dented customer confidence.

We’ve made a good start to the year, despite challenging trading conditions.

Peter Fankhauser, chief executive

But it says people still want to go on holiday and the firm had moved quickly to find alternative destinations.

However, it says that maintaining that new customer confidence will be key to keeping sales on track.

The company reveals in its results for three months to the end of last year, that revenue increased by £16 million to £1,409 million - a rise of one per cent.

It states “This is due to growth in sales of holidays to Spain, long haul destinations, and new seat-only routes, offsetting the impact of the closure of both Tunisia and Sharm-El-Sheikh in Egypt, and reduced sales to Turkey.

Losses before tax increased from £115 million to £116 million.

Peter Fankhauser, chief executive, said: “It is clear that the awful attacks in Paris and Istanbul impacted confidence, leading some customers to delay booking their holidays.

“However we’ve seen clear signs of recovery in recent weeks.

“Customers still have money in their pockets, and want to go on holiday.

“In this uncertain geopolitical environment, we are also seeing more of our customers choose a package holiday, valuing the greater security it provides.

He said: “Having acted fast to offer our customers a broad range of alternatives to Tunisia and Egypt, we delivered a one per cent increase in revenues in the first quarter.

“We have the scale and flexibility to give customers a wide choice of destinations, in both the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, the Caribbean and other long haul destinations, and our experienced high street and call centre staff are on hand to offer customers the best advice.”

The company says that winter 2015/16 is trading in line with expectations with 82 per cent of the programme sold, broadly the same as this time last year, with significantly higher pricing.

The summer 2016 programme is 29 per cent sold, two per cent less than last year.

Thomas Cook has changed its programme to include more holidays to the Western Mediterranean in anticipation of changes in customer demand.

Mr Fankhauser said: “We’ve made a good start to the year, despite challenging trading conditions.

“We are maintaining our previous guidance for the 2016 financial year, provided that the recent recovery we have seen in customer confidence is sustained.”