STAFF REPORTER/REUTERS

PALMA AND LONDON
TUI Travel summer sales in the UK have risen by ten percent as customers return to the high street after bad weather at the start of the year.
The trend reported by Europe's biggest tour operator which own Thomson and First Choice, mirrors that experienced by the Co-operative Travel group which last week also reported a significant increase in demand in summer holidays after a depressing 2009, two wet summers and the freezing winter which is continuing to grip the UK.

TUI Travel said it had seen a significant improvement in profitability in recent weeks and was putting more summer holidays on sale to meet increased demand. The group, formed in 2007 through a tie-up between TUI AG's travel division and Britain's First Choice, reported an increased first-quarter operating loss but said trading had improved in the second quarter.

TUI Travel, in which Germany's TUI AG holds a 43 percent stake, said trading had been particularly strong in Britain and the Nordic countries, which have seen increases in summer 2010 bookings of 6 percent and 40 percent respectively.

CEO Peter Long said a sustained improvement in demand had left the group “confident that the worst is behind us.”