8/15/2008

Thomas Cook seeing no evidence of trading down

Bloomberg - Thomas Cook, Europe's second-biggest travel operator, is seeing no evidence of consumers cutting back on holidays or trading down, Chief Executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa told reporters. Despite an economic slowdown, the group, created last year from the tie-up of German retailer Arcandor's travel unit and Britain's MyTravel, said current trading has been strong in summer 2008 and bookings for winter 2008/9 and summer 2009 are ahead of last year. "When it comes to the main holiday, it is a 'must have' item for consumers. In our experience, people will cut back on all sorts of other things before they cut back on their holiday. He added that bookings to non-euro currency destinations such as Turkey and Egypt are proving ‘far more popular’ for 2008/9 as the strength of the euro affects booking patterns. Winter bookings to Egypt are 20 percent up year-on-year, with Turkey bookings up 13%.