The Thomas Cook Group has announced a 5% fall in bookings for the current winter season.

Speaking as he announced the audited results for the year ending October 31, 2007, chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa said the fall in sales follows a 7% capacity cut. He revealed the average selling price for a holiday in the UK is currently up by 2%, leaving margins ahead of the previous year.

He said the capacity cuts had been largely  in the short haul market which was cut by 21%  for this winter. The group’s tour operations  exited unprofitable areas of the business. Long haul capacity was cut by 15%  while the medium haul market saw the least cuts at just 4%.

Fontenla-Novoa said early sales for the summer market are “encouraging” despite  being 2% down on last year. They come following a 9% capacity cut while the average selling price is 2% more than last year.

Again the key capacity cuts have been in short haul which was slashed by 21% while medium haul and long haul were cut by 3% and 9% respectively.

Fontenla-Novoa added summer sales in the group’s key destinations of Egypt and Turkey are particularly strong.