Comment: Hold on tight on the travel sales seesaw

Comment: Hold on tight on the travel sales seesaw

The year may not have started with quite the bang in summer bookings we all hoped for given the most promising economic outlook in years, but there is compelling evidence of improvement since the first fortnight.

Season-to-date sales for summer 2015 were up 3% year on year by the end of January, according to analyst GfK, helped by a surge in the final week of the month when GfK recorded bookings 4% up on the comparable week a year ago.

Tui went one (per cent) better this week, reporting season‑to‑date bookings for the summer up 4% and the newly merged group now plans to grow. It also plans to restructure its airline and cruise operations, so watch this space.

Tui found time, too, to announce that head of retail sales Jill Carter has stepped up to become UK retail director and will lead a transformation of the company’s 649 shops.

Thomas Cook was due to publish quarterly results and trading figures of its own the day after Travel Weekly went to press, with Carter’s predecessor Kathryn Darbandi (formerly Ward) due to start as Cook’s UK retail director next month.

Let’s hope the big two’s new retail bosses can draw on the more upbeat mood on the high street.

Our old friend Miles Morgan (Miles Morgan Travel) reported this week that the start of February had been “fantastic.”

He described last month as “unusual”, saying: “I’ve never known a January like it. We had a poor start, a couple of record days in the middle and it was OK at the end.”

I guess that’s the sector we’re in, but it would be great to have a little more consistency.


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