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Travel

TUI Travel narrows loss, maintains profit guidance on strong 2014 bookings

TUI Travel is sticking to its 2014 profit goal after limiting its loss in the traditionally weak winter quarter. Europe’s biggest tour operator says strong summer bookings and higher selling prices will boost earnings.

TUI Travel posted an operating loss of 108 million pounds (130 million euros) in its first fiscal quarter to the end of December 2013, narrowing the shortfall compared to the same quarter in 2012 when it lost 116 million pounds, showed.

British-based TUI Travel, which is owned by German travel and tourism group TUI AG, said earnings in the traditionally weak winter quarter were helped by improvements in its French business.

World tourism grows despite sluggish global economy

Europe's biggest tour operator by revenue also said that January bookings for the summer holiday season were up by 1 percent compared with the same month last year. In addition, the average price paid by customers was 3 percent higher, as people had been booking more all-inclusive packages, including costs of food, drink and services, TUI Travel Chief Executive Peter Long said in a statement. As a result, the company would maintain its profit guidance for 2014, he said.

“Trading remains in line with our expectations and we are confident of delivering 7 percent to 10 percent growth in underlying operating profit during the year," Long said.

In its first quarter, TUI Travel saw fewer bookings for Egypt than in recent years due to the political turmoil in the Arab country. However, a very slow but steady rise in bookings was noticeable in January, improving prospects for the destination next winter, CEO Long said.

Greece had made a strong comeback, while the Canary Islands, Turkey and the Balearic Islands remained the company's top three destinations, he added.

uhe/tj (Reuters, dpa)

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