TURKEY has become Thomas Cook’s joint second best-selling summer destination.
Chief executive Peter Fankhauser said Turkey was the “standout destination” in all markets, with the UK picking up a lot earlier than in Germany.
Spain remains the number one selling destination while Turkey and Greece are tied second.
Official figures released also showed Turkish tourism revenue rebounded last year by 18.9% year-on-year after recovering from a series of terrorist attacks and a failed coup.
“We have made an encouraging start to trading for summer 2018, with our holiday and flight programme now 34% sold, 3% higher than this time last year,” Fankhauser said.
“Turkey, Egypt and Greece are seeing good growth across all source markets, while the very strong demand we have seen for Spain over the last two to three years appears to be normalising.”
A pick up in demand for trips to Turkey is good news for Thomas Cook as it makes a higher profit margin on holidays there than to Spain, its biggest destination, where a price war among tour operators has coincided with hotels raising prices.
“We see that Spain is getting again in this summer more expensive compared to a very good value for money proposition in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Fankhauser told reporters.
Referring to the recent demise of two airlines in Europe, Fankhauser called the holiday market “unpredictable”, while analysts noted risks associated with exposure to Turkey and other destinations in the Eastern Mediterranean, such as Egypt.
“The caveat being increasing exposure to potential geopolitical risk,” said Shore Capital analyst Greg Johnson.
Thomas Cook, which pioneered the package holiday concept when it was set up in 1841, is more exposed to Turkey than larger rival TUI Group