Thomas Cook’s average UK selling prices for this summer are 9% up despite an 11% drop in sales in line with capacity reductions.

Europe’s second largest travel group gave an upbeat forecast in its interim management statement for the three months to December 31, 2008.

The group has 10% fewer holidays left to sell in the UK for this summer and has sold 43% of available UK capacity for this summer despite a later booking trend for summer 2009, as well as across winter 2008-2009 bookings.

Cumulative UK bookings for summer are 11% down, in line with an 11% capacity reduction. However, bookings in the four weeks until Februrary 8 are only 6% down.

UK bookings for winter 2008-2009 are 7% down – broadly in line with a capacity reduction of 6% – while average selling prices for winter are 7% up. Sales for the four weeks until February 8 show average selling prices for winter are 10% ahead.

For more on this story go to Travel Weekly sister title Travolution.