A recovery in demand for holidays to Turkey and North Africa is helping boost winter holiday bookings, tour operator Thomas Cook said Tuesday.
The UK-based tour firm has said its overall group bookings for Winter 2017/18 is up 3 percent, mainly due to renewed appetite for breaks in Turkey as well as North African countries such as Egypt and Tunisia. Average selling prices are up 2 percent.
In the UK, Winter bookings were up 5 percent, while in Northern Europe and continental Europe bookings were up 6 and 4 percent respectively.
The tour operator had enjoyed a “good summer,” said Peter Fankhauser, chief executive of Thomas Cook.
“Demand for Turkey and Egypt has also picked up as customers look for quality and value,” he said in a pre-closing trading statement on Tuesday.
Overall group bookings for summer were up 11 percent compared to the same time last year, with average selling prices up one percent. The company’s Summer 2017 program is now 91 percent sold, two percent more than this time last year, the firm said.
Spain remains the company’s biggest destination overall, with bookings remaining level with last year, Thomas Cook said.
Tourists have in recent years been deterred from holidaying in Turkey and North Africa due to concerns about political instability, terrorism and security issues.
A total of 38 people — of which the majority were British tourists — were killed by a gunman in a resort in Sousse in Tunisia on 26 June 2015.
In the same year in Egypt, terrorists were blamed for the fatal crash of the Russian plane after take-off from the tourist destination Sharm El-Sheikh. The disaster led to many countries suspending flights to and from the airport.
Meanwhile, Turkey borders conflict-ridden Syria and there have been a number of suicide bombings and attacks in the country, including in Istanbul.