TUI hit by Tunisia unrest but sales for summer rise

TUI Travel, the owner of holidays brands including Thomson and First Choice, said the heavy snowfall in Britain and civil unrest in Tunisia had hit its recent bookings but said reservations for this summer were "encouraging". The tour operator, which is controlled by its German parent, TUI AG, also said its underlying operating losses had risen by £20m in the first quarter from a £107m loss a year ago.

Following the Government's advice to UK citizens not to travel to Tunisia, TUI has cancelled flights to the country since 15 January. In a trading statement to coincide with an investor day, TUI said UK bookings for winter 2010-11 were down by 1 per cent since its last trading statement in December.

But it said cumulative bookings for its key markets, including Britain and the Nordic countries, for this summer were up by between 8 per cent and 16 per cent as of 16 January. It hopes to make cost savings of £60m by 2013.