Germany tensions do not affect travel to Turkey, Thomas Cook says
LONDONTour operator Thomas Cook has said there is a continued recovery for bookings to Turkey and the resurgence in Turkey had not been affected by increased tensions with Germany.
Thomas Cook CEO Peter Fankhauser told reporters on July 27 that Turkey remained attractive despite a warning by the German government for its citizens to be careful when traveling there, as reported by Reuters.
Tour operators such as Thomas Cook have seen business in the Middle East and North Africa suffer in recent years as security issues deterred visitors, with travel firms laying on more holidays to the western Mediterranean to compensate.
However, this year has seen a bounce back in markets such as Turkey and Egypt, while markets such as Spain have been more thorny.
On the flipside, the increase in capacity in Spain is hitting margins there, and Thomas Cook said that prices were under pressure from the intense competition.
Fankhauser also noted that Thomas Cook would restart holidays in Tunisia now that Britain softened its travel advice to the country.
The move, which came as the company reiterated its full-year outlook, should be a welcome boost to Tunisia, where tourism accounts for 8 percent of gross domestic product and is a key source of foreign currency and jobs.
Britain said on July 26 that it was no longer advising against travel to most of Tunisia after tightening its advice following a militant attack in a Tunisian resort in June 2015. There had also been an earlier attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis.
The attacks led to two years of sharp declines in tourism.
Fankhauser said the British decision was unexpected and a positive for Tunisia and the tourism industry.
“The foreign office came to the conclusion that it is again safe to travel. We didn’t have any program for the winter so we are setting up a really good quality offer for Tunisia and this is going to take some time,” he told reporters.
“I suppose that we are going to start during the winter season, but more towards the spring,” he said, as quoted by Reuters.
The tour operator said strong demand for summer bookings would continue into winter, adding that its full-year operating profit would be in-line with forecasts.
Profit is expected to grow 6 percent to 326 million pounds for the financial year ending on Sept. 30.