Thomas Cook has launched a preview brochure of its summer 2011 programme two months earlier than last year to drive early bookings, particularly from the family market.


The preview of the mainstream summer range features the operator’s most popular holidays, and includes Djerba in Tunisia for the first time.


Last year, Thomas Cook delayed the release of its summer 2010 brochures to concentrate on late bookings. This year, however, the operator wanted to stimulate the early booking market by offering good deals and added value, said Richard Calvert, Thomas Cook’s joint managing director of mainstream travel for the UK and Ireland.


The operator is striving to bolster the family market by offering free kids’ places, free in-flight meals and 10kg of free infant baggage allowance, as well as introducing the Family World programme in Greece, Rhodes, Cyprus and Turkey.


Calvert said: “Family World hotels have beachside locations and activities that parents and children can do together.”


He claimed Thomas Cook would be the only UK operator to offer direct flights from Gatwick and Manchester to Djerba, an island off the coast of Tunisia, featuring it in both its Thomas Cook and Airtours summer-sun brochures.


“Tunisia has been very big for us and we want to offer something different,” he said. “Djerba is a north African island with fantastic beaches and hotels, and a French twist.”


Thomas Cook is adding six properties to its Aquamania Resorts for 2011, in Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and Florida. It is also offering customers a Big Price Rewind promise, which means many holidays will be available at prices lower than in 2010, and expanding its Kids World clubs to 55 properties.


Airtours’ preview 2011 brochure, which also launches today, is driving early sales by offering customers up to £200 off bookings made by August.


The operator is expanding its SunStar resorts and is introducing the Sunsplash brand – three-star hotels with water-based activities.


Other plans include adding flights from Bournemouth to Antalya and Corfu, and more flights from Newcastle, Bristol, East Midlands, Southampton and Humberside.


Fifty more exclusive properties have been added  to the Thomas Cook and Airtours programmes. A greater choice of durations will also be available including 10 and 11-night options, to cater for consumer demand.


The full Airtours programme will be launched on May 27.