Thomas Cook, the oldest and largest tour operator in the UK, is maintaining its position as the market leader among all tour operators but, according to the results of a new report by Morgan Stanley, its share has dropped “significantly”—from 43 percent among those surveyed who said they have or were likely to book with the company to 36 percent. In the report, Morgan Stanley said that, for TUI, 35 percent of those surveyed said they have or were likely to book with TUI, compared to 38 percent last year.
The survey, which was taken during the New Year’s booking period, which is the busiest holiday booking time of the year for British travelers, results are not that rosy, either, for the top two operators when their other brands are included. Including subsidiary brands, TUI and First Choice combined have lost more market share (54 percent vs. 63 percent last year) than Thomas Cook and Airtours (45 percent vs. 50 percent last year).
Other notes from the survey:
—Looking at the health of the sector as a whole, Morgan Stanley said its survey findings were surprisingly positive, as 73 percent of respondents said they intend to travel abroad in the next 12 months, which is up from the 68 percent in last year’s survey.
—Of those who said they intend to travel abroad in the coming year, 61 percent said that they expect to take a package—slightly more than the 59 percent from last year’s survey.
—Only 2 percent of respondents mentioned Brexit as the main reason for not holidaying overseas.
—”The traditional package holiday seems remarkably resilient given economic/political uncertainty, competition, and last year’s heatwave, which could prompt later booking and/or more staycations,” said the report.
—However, the reported noted, “channel checks suggest January, the peak booking period for the key summer season, has been soft in both the UK and Germany.