Egypt unrest hits TUI and Thomas Cook winter trading

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Tour operators TUI and Thomas Cook have warned that geopolitical events, in particular the continuing unrest in Egypt, are having a negative impact on their winter bookings.

In a trading update, TUI says it is reducing its Egypt programme "significantly" for the winter 2013/2014 season. Operations to the Middle East country dropped across all of its source markets this summer.

"As soon as the unrest in Egypt started, we actively began to remix the programme into alternative destinations," says TUI. "We are taking a prudent view of capacity for the winter 2013/2014 programme, and although not significant, we have taken the decision at this stage not to re-deploy fully the capacity switch out of Egypt into alternative destinations."

The German travel group says it closed all Egyptian operations with the exception of those from the UK and, later, Germany, based on foreign-office warnings in various countries. TUI Germany has only recently reopened Red Sea resorts, and TUI reports that UK bookings to those destinations are “significantly lower than last year”.

Nevertheless, TUI says it is confident it can "absorb the impacts of geopolitical events, including the current turbulent political situations in Egypt and Syria".

It did not disclose how much capacity into Egypt will be reduced this winter.

In its trading update, Thomas Cook says that "not unexpectedly, given the geopolitical events and warm weather across Europe, winter trading has started more slowly than last year across most markets".