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TUI Travel says trading and outlook in line with expectations

TUI Travel, the London based tour operator cast some light in the state of the European travel market by issuing an interim management statement in which the company says current trading and the outlook are in line with expectations.

“Winter 2008/09 trading is in line with our previous update released on 27 November 2008. Bookings continue to track in line with capacity reductions, and we are continuing to achieve our load factor targets with strong average selling prices,” the company said in a statement.

“For the summer season, other than in the UK, we have only recently launched our programmes in the majority of our source markets, and as such it remains very early in the booking cycle. We anticipated a weaker demand environment in 2009 and cut capacity accordingly across our source markets, and as result average selling prices are significantly ahead of last year, and we continue to focus on recovering our input costs and achieving our margin targets for the current financial year. As with winter trading in January, we have experienced stronger consumer demand in the last four weeks for our summer programmes.”

In the UK the c ompany has undertaken further consumer research with customers who had booked a package holiday with its brands at this time last year but are yet to do so for summer 2009, with the following results: 87% intend to take an overseas holiday, which is the same proportion as last year. Of those, 94% confirmed that they will be taking a package holiday this summer (2008 survey: 85%), demonstrating that more customers intend totake an ATOL protected package holiday.

“This consumer research is consistent with our booking experience pre-Christmas and New Year for the winter season and is consistent with the stronger booking patterns we have seen over the last few weeks.We continue to leverage the inherent flexibility in our businessCurrent trading patterns, together with the incremental synergy benefits arising from our integration programme, mean that we continue to be well positioned to perform in line with our expectations for the year ending 30 September 2009,” TUI Travel said.