11 February, 2017
Tour operators including Thomas Cook and TUI AG have been boosting capacity at resorts perceived as safer by customers as they wrestle with the impact of terror attacks that have depressed travel to traditional vacation spots spanning Paris and Nice to Bodrum and Marmaris on Turkey's Mediterranean coast.
The group said United Kingdom bookings for this year's key summer season were largely flat - up one per cent overall - as it comes under pressure from rivals in the Spanish island market.
With security issues continuing to reduce demand for holidays in places like Turkey and Egypt, Thomas Cook has expanded its offerings in Greece and other European countries such as Portugal, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Croatia.
The group has announced that said underlying operating losses improved by two per cent on a like-for-like basis to £49m the quarter to the end of December, traditionally a quiet time for trading.
He said the group would not be drawn into a price war and had "taken a deliberate decision to focus on higher margin, quality holidays".
Thomas Cook said that 31 percent of its summer holidays had already been sold, with bookings 9 percent ahead of a year ago.
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It also perceives an increase in income tax collection as people were forced to deposit unaccounted cash in the banks. For 2017-18, it is expected that the growth would return to normal as currency notes are replenished.
Greece was now its "stand-out" destination, with 2.5 million holidaymakers booked for this summer.
The travel company, originally founded in 1841, produced solid first-quarter results and a rise in summer bookings, but struck a cautious tone on its full-year outlook.
But the group said United Kingdom bookings for this year's key summer season were largely flat - up 1% overall - as it comes under pressure from rivals in the Spanish island market.
A basic self-catering package for a family of four on the Spanish island of Lanzarote sold under Thomas Cook's Airtours brand costs £456 per person, including flights from Gatwick, while a similar holiday in Marmaris, Turkey, is on sale for £362.
Analyst Laith Khalaf at Hargreaves Lansdown said the broadly flat like-for-like revenues and losses probably represented a small victory against the unfriendly backdrop.
More than 32 per cent of shareholders voted against proposals for a strategic share incentive plan (SSIP) that would have seen Peter Fankhauser paid up to 225 per cent of his £703,800 base salary.