In a trading statement out today, TUI said the number of UK customers who have booked a winter break is down 21% on last year. The operator has cut winter capacity 12% in anticipation of reduced demand.
Chief executive Peter Long said: "The late-booking trend seen in recent seasons has continued into winter 2009/10, which is traditionally booked later than the summer season."
Elsewhere, the lates market for summer 2009 performed well, with most of TUI´s programmes sold. In the UK, charter sales were 4% down on last year, and passenger numbers were down 10%.
Long reported healthy sales for summer 2010. "Bookings for summer next year are in line with the previous year, and the average selling price is 4% higher," he said.
TUI also announced plans to raise £440 million through a bond and additional bank facilities. This will enable the company to refinance its shareholder loan with TUI AG and fund acquisitions. TUI said it wants to invest in niche businesses in specialist sectors.