Thomas Cook has reported a surge in bookings in the past four weeks as the downturn sparks a return to package holidays.
The tour operator said cumulative bookings across its markets were down 16 per cent on last year for this summer, after it cut capacity by 11 percent. Bookings for this winter season are down 7 per cent overall but up 12 per cent over the past four weeks.Manny Fontenla-Novoa, chief executive, said: “Consumers’ need for a holiday is really strong and maybe even stronger at times like these. I felt like a lone voice at times, saying I think package holidays are great value and offer great protection for the consumer, and I think there’s a trend for people who thought package holidays were going out of fashion checking back in.”
He added that holidaymakers were booking much later due to the uncertain economic environment. They were also going for non-euro destinations such as Egypt and Turkey.
“The hot ticket out there is an all-inclusive holiday in Turkey”, he said.
Mr Fontenla-Novoa also added said that any discounting was being borne mainly by hoteliers and not by Thomas Cook.
Bookings for Turkey and Egypt are up 32 per cent and 14 per cent respectively, while bookings for Spain have fallen by 25 per cent. The group has sold 52 per cent of its capacity for summer season.