Wednesday, August 17News That Matters

More Britons ‘choosing non-EU holiday destinations’

More UK holidaymakers have chosen destinations outside the European Union for their holidays this summer, according to new figures from Thomas Cook.

The travel operator said 48% of its package holiday bookings for the season were for countries outside the EU, 10 percentage points higher than the same time last year – and the report helped lift travel stocks in Monday trading.

Thomas Cook said the weakness of the pound against the euro was the most likely cause for the trend.

It also said that the prolonged uncertainty around the UK’s exit from the European Union had led many to delay their decision on when and where to book.

Shares in Thomas Cook and rose by more than 2% with rival TUI up 3%. Low-cost airline easyJet was also up by 3%, as was International Airlines Group, owner of British Airways and Iberia.

Spain remained the top destination for the travel operator’s summer package holidays.

But Turkey saw the biggest growth in demand, leapfrogging Greece – now in third – to become this summer’s second most popular package holiday destination.

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The US was in fourth spot and Cyprus in fifth.

Thomas Cook operates package holidays as well as its airline
Image: Thomas Cook last month announced the closure of 21 high street stores

Will Waggott, chief of tour operating for Thomas Cook, said that “political turmoil… is revealing itself in a clear shift to non-EU countries.”

Thomas Cook warned earlier this year that anxiety among UK consumers was affecting summer holiday bookings.

It issued a series of profit warnings last year, and last month announced that it was to close 21 high street stores, resulting in 320 job losses.

Low-cost airline easyJet warned earlier this month that “unanswered questions surrounding Brexit” were weakening demand as it headed into its key summer trading period.

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