By Daniel Hunter
Steady holiday bookings have helped Europe's biggest travel group, Tui Travel, to outperform their rivals.
Despite bookings for the travel industry falling by 14%, Tui said UK bookings in January were unchanged from a year earlier.
Tui appears to be benefiting from problems at rival Thomas Cook, which had to secure fresh funding last year.
That said, Tui recorded a £158 million loss for the final quarter of 2011, compared with a £143 million loss a year earlier.
“We are satisfied with the progress in trading since our last update and are particularly pleased with the performance of differentiated product, which continues to book earlier, demonstrating the resilience of our business model," Peter Long, Chief Executive of TUI Travel PLC, commented.
"We are also pleased with the development of bookings and pricing in the UK, where we have outperformed the market during the key booking period in January. We have also had a particularly good performance in online sales. We believe that this outperformance reflects the trust that customers place in our market leading brands.
“As anticipated, underlying operating loss for the quarter increased principally due to lower demand for North African destinations.
“Our performance remains in line with our expectations and the flexibility of our business model means that we are able to manage capacity to match profitable demand. In addition, our business improvement programme is progressing according to plan.
"These self-help measures, coupled with our strategy of increasing differentiated product, controlled distribution and online sales, will help us to deliver in the current challenging macro-economic environment.”
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