THOMAS Cook’s tour operating brands are on target to increase capacity by around 12% for summer ’99, according to industry figures.
Despite the market being flat, the figures show significant growth for the brands which include Sunworld, Sunset and Club 18-30.
Retailers’ figures show the Thomas Cook operators have increased capacity by 24% to 2.33m holidays sold through retailers for summer ’99 up to August 7, compared with the same period last year.
Industry experts suggested the real figure was around 12% because the statistics included cancellations and also counted people twice who had rebooked due to the Kosovo crisis.
“Thomas Cook is going for massive growth – it could have a destabilising effect in such a flat market,” said one industry analyst. “They have been discounting and it will be a costly exercise to expand so rapidly.”
Thomas Cook declined to comment. The figures show Thomson sold 2.4m holidays to August 7, down 6%, while the First Choice group, including Unijet, had around 1.8m bookings, similar to last year. Airtours’ bookings to August 7 were steady at around 1.85m holidays sold, not including subsidiary brands.
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