Britons are still willing to splash out on holidays despite the plunge in the pound pushing prices higher, travel giant TUI has said.
The Thomson and First Choice owner said UK customer numbers this summer were unchanged from last year despite average selling prices climbing by 7%.
The UK was the only one of the group’s geographical divisions that failed to post volume growth.
But TUI said the fact the numbers were unchanged was “testament to the popularity of our holidays and the high level of priority our customers place on them”.
The update chimes with wider evidence that the squeeze on UK households and economic uncertainty over Brexit has yet to hit leisure activities such as holidays and eating out, despite hitting retailers such as those in the clothing sector.
Image: TUI says customers place a high level of priority on holidays
Meanwhile, TUI said previously announced plans for rebranding that will see the Thomson brand disappear are to go ahead in the UK this autumn.
The travel giant also said it was starting to see renewed popularity for holidays to Turkey and North Africa – destinations which have been affected by political chaos and terror attacks.
TUI said demand for its holidays “remains resilient”, with bookings at “the same high level” as the previous year “despite the impact on pricing from cost inflation, in particular due to the weaker pound sterling”.
The pound plunged sharply after last year’s Brexit vote – which means that, for British tourists it does not go as far when exchanged for euros or other foreign currencies in holiday destinations.
It has also resulted in travel operators such as TUI putting up sterling prices to reflect the same currency change.
TUI reported a 13% rise in revenue for the third quarter to the end of June to €4.8bn and a 38% increase in underlying earnings to €222m, partly helped by the timing of Easter.