This week brought good news amid all the uncertainty about government cuts to child benefit, the outlook for the economy and job losses at Thomas Cook and Tui Travel.
Tui’s trading update on Tuesday suggests the UK market remains remarkably strong. Mainstream sales for summer 2010 are 2% up on 2009 and the average selling price is 10% higher. The division has taken 13% more revenue this summer than last and reports good trading for this winter.
Thomas Cook sales, reported last week, were hardly much worse – down 1% on 2009 in line with capacity, but with higher average prices.
British Airways weighed in with its best monthly traffic figures for more than two years, confirming the recovery in air travel, with a 4.3% improvement on September 2009 in premium class where BA makes most of its money.
EasyJet followed suit, raising its profit expecations as annual figures showed an 8% increase in traffic and 6% rise in revenue per seat.
No one would have gambled on such results a year ago, or even in July and early August.
And such surprisingly positive news is not confined to the big household names either. I spoke to several agents this week and received overwhelmingly encouraging noises.
Yes, we’ve seen a couple of failures this autumn, but not as many as feared. Instead, I’ve had the likes of Holiday Experts telling me business was “thriving”, Travelox telling me it was “really good” and Baldwins Travel claiming it was trading only slightly behind its best year ever – so much so, it’s just opened a new high street shop.
Long may it continue.
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