Thomson Holidays owner TUI Travel today said it continued to outperform the UK market as it revealed healthy summer bookings and strong online growth.
Europe’s biggest tour operator said cumulative summer bookings as at April 29 were 6% lower, which is flat compared to the same measure a month earlier, driven by demand for holidays exclusively available through TUI.
However, the overall performance has been held back by its French market, which has seen a steep decline in holidays to North Africa, despite some return in demand for the turbulent region.
TUI, which revealed an operating loss of £317 million for the seasonally quieter six months to March 31, up from £307 million the previous year, has held up well amid the struggles at Thomas Cook, although its rival unveiled a financing deal on Saturday that will secure its future.
Thomas Cook shares jumped 13% after the 170-year-old company agreed a #1.4 billion deal with lenders including Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays to extend the maturity of its bank loans to 2015.
TUI shares were also in positive territory after chief executive Peter Long said he was pleased with the first half performance, including the UK.
He added: "Our outperformance in this market is continuing into the summer season and we will ensure that we continue to optimise our position."
It said its exclusive holidays accounted for 62% of UK bookings over the winter, up 12 percentage points on the prior year, while the proportion of holidays sold online increased to 47% compared to the previous winter.