Comment: Peaks proves sweet period

Comment: Peaks proves sweet period

There is no lack of evidence of travel’s rude good health this week, with Tui and Thomas Cook turning in decent quarterly figures off the back of stronger performances in the UK than group-wide.

Tui expressed satisfaction with “a little bit higher price, but also more customers”, while Cook reported entering “a sweet period” on currency hedging as prices rise.

Analyst GfK reported the year-on-year growth for summer 2017 continues, with bookings in the first week of February up 9% on the comparable week in 2016, and average prices for the season to date up 6%.

Tui announced the €381 million sale of its largely UK-based specialist brands, grouped in Travelopia, to investment firm KKR – with the new owner targeting not only growth but the trade. Tui also unveiled plans to develop new source markets in China, India, Brazil, southeast Asia and southern Europe off the back of, not in lieu of, a strong UK performance.

Even Cook’s decision to stop selling Jet2holidays appears positive, with the rapidly growing operator chasing down Cook’s UK number-two position and looking to independent agents to help it grow.

It’s all quite a contrast to what was forecast ahead of the Brexit vote and feared following last year’s fall in sterling. The inbound sector, which was openly pessimistic, saw a record end to 2016 and UKinbound now reports record confidence among members.

How long will this last? “Who knows?” was Tui chief Fritz Joussen’s view this week. Caution would be wise. But the industry could barely be more rosy-cheeked in the circumstances. Why not make the most of it?


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