Cook's summer bookings heat up

TRAVEL giant Thomas Cook yesterday hailed the "resilience of the summer holiday" as Britons fed up with the wintry weather rushed to book summer breaks.

The group reported a 15 per cent surge in summer 2010 holiday bookings in the past four weeks, with bookings to Turkey and Egypt in high demand.

Thomas Cook credited its TV campaign featuring footballer Jamie Redknapp and his singer wife Louise for boosting sales.

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It said UK average prices for summer breaks were up 2 per cent, while prices for the winter season had risen 6 per cent. But the increase in cost has not deterred consumers from seeking some summer sun, despite a slow start for sales in the peak January selling season due to the snow and adverse weather.

Chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa said: "Bookings for the summer 2010 season have improved significantly, marking a response to our marketing campaigns and highlighting the resilience of the summer holiday."

The group is focusing on more profitable summer destinations, in particular medium-haul and all-inclusive deals, and has been cutting capacity.

But in spite of the recent spike in summer bookings, a slow start to the selling season and capacity cuts has left total UK bookings since 1 October down 8 per cent.

Winter 2009-10 bookings have fallen 10 per cent – down 6 per cent in the past month – after a planned 8 per cent cut in holiday capacity.

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