The political uprising in Tunisia coupled with snow gridlock in the UK has hit TUI Travel over the last month, according to its latest trading update.
However, Europe’s largest travel group remains on target to reach its winter bookings target, whilst summer bookings are strong as consumers seek value in times of austerity.
TUI Travel said bookings since its previous trading statement in early December were down 1 percent as Arctic conditions led to the closure British airports and stopped would-be holidaymakers visiting its shops.
The company, which owns Thomson Holidays, cancelled all flights to Tunisia on 15 January following a series of violent demonstrations and riots across the country.
However, it said cumulative winter bookings to January 16 are 3 percent higher year-on-year, and that the group remains on target to hit its target for the winter season.
Summer bookings are looking particularly strong – 11 percent since the last trading update, driven by the company’s “differentiated product range” - holiday packages exclusively available through TUI Travel brands.
Like many other travel organisation, TUI endured a particularly tough 2010, as the ash cloud airspace closures and looming economic uncertainty dampened bookings.
However volumes picked up toward the end of the year, with winter bookings in line with expectations and profit margins for summer 2011 bookings ahead of last year.
Peter Long, chief executive, said there was a clear shift toward customers booking holidays online, leading to the group expanding its online presence. But he said the group would “remain cautious given the uncertain economic and geopolitical environment”.