Thomas Cook, the UK-based travel company that has suffered well-documented financial difficulties of late, sees signs of growing confidence in the UK travel market, despite the uncertain economic outlook.
Speaking at the International Travel and Tourism (ITT) conference in Barbados, Ian Ailles, Thomas Cook UK mainstream managing director, said, ‘We see signs of confidence returning. I’m convinced UK consumers will continue to travel. Underlying demand will not change.’
Ailles continued in a positive vein, saying, ‘All the projections point to a continuing increase in customer demand [because] people prioritise taking a break. We expect to see fairly stable 3 percent to 5 percent growth in the next three to five years. Businesses need to plan on that horizon.’
He did introduce a word of warning though, adding, ‘We are all managing financial pressures. I’ve no doubt it will change the players in the travel industry. Some will disappear. But the contraction will not dent the fundamental requirement for holidays. Consumers face uncertain times. In the short term they have to achieve more from less income, when in all living memory incomes have increased. The UK economy is unbelievably challenging for the vast majority of consumers. The cost of living is increasing; there is a decrease in wages. There is fundamental, stable requirement to purchase a holiday, but everything else is changing. The lives of consumers are changing.’
Meanwhile, Thomas Cook is continuing to take financial measures to ensure its own funding and future after coming close to winding up earlier this year.