Egypt Turmoil: Holiday Demand Slumps
UK tour operators say the recent violence across large parts of Egypt has taken its toll on demand for holidays in the country.
In trading updates released on Thursday, Thomas Cook said the turmoil - which flared in Egypt after the coup which removed President Mohamed†Morsi from power - has hit recent bookings while rival TUI Travel said it had slashed flights to the popular winter sun destination.
The Foreign Office continues to advise against all but essential travel to the vast majority of the country, bar the Red Sea resorts including Sharm el Sheikh.
North Sinai should be avoided altogether, the advice stated, because of continuing unrest and threat of terrorism.
TUI - which owns the Thomson and First Choice brands - said that while package holidays to Red Sea resorts remain on sale from the UK, demand had disappeared.
Europe's biggest tour operator said it had responded to the crisis in Egypt by significantly shrinking capacity to the country and deploying most flights to other destinations, after countries including Germany advised holidaymakers not to travel there at all.
Nevertheless, its share price rose in London after a "strong" summer of UK trading prompted it to hike full-year profit hopes.
TUI reported a 6% increase in prices and 2% more customers which combined to lift its UK sales by 8%.
Excluding flights to Egypt, TUI said it had sold 29% of its UK winter programme to date, with bookings 4% ahead and average prices up 7%, resulting an 11% rise in sales.
Thomas Cook said it had endured a slow start to winter trading because of warm weather in Europe, following on from a weak finish to summer trading, when UK bookings fell 3% but prices rose 4.5%.
It said the slowdown was against a tough comparison in 2012 when the UK's soggy summer sparked a deluge in interest for late sunshine abroad.
Thomas Cook, which is midway through a painful turnaround driven by chief executive Harriet Green, said results for the year to the end of September will be in line with expectations despite the recent setback.