Europe Holiday Travel Demand Strong, Says TUI

After months of economic concerns, good news is expected as holiday travel in Europe is already receiving high demand. TUI Travel, Europe's biggest travel firm created last year from the tie-up of TUI AG's travel division and Britain's First Choice, expressed confidence in achieving its expectations for 2008 and 2009 based on strong consumer demand for package holidays, Reuters reports. The group reported a 39 percent increase in third quarter underlying operating profit to $124.5 million.

CEO Peter Long said that Britain's holidaymakers are trading up and that the average selling prices to customers in the UK have risen 13 percent this summer compared to last year, with the increase primarily due to customers upgrading their holiday plans. "It's not all cost (increases)," he said. "It's a mixture, with customers trading up, which is a positive trend."

Long also reiterated his confidence that merger talks between Lufthansa's Germanwings airline and TUI's TUIfly will reach a successful conclusion by the end of the year. "I believe we'll get a good outturn," he said. "There's a degree of complexity that we're working through, and a deal's not done till you're happy with the shape of it."

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