UPDATE 1-Thomas Cook's summer bookings strong despite British slowdown

Thu May 18, 2017 10:14am GMT

* Thomas Cook reiterates full year guidance

* UK bookings to Spanish islands level off

* Recovery in Turkey and Egypt continues (Adds detail, quote)

By Alistair Smout

LONDON, May 18 (Reuters) - Britain's Thomas Cook echoed concerns raised by rival tour operator TUI over the market for travel by British tourists on Thursday, saying that competition at home had slowed growth.

Although Thomas Cook said it was seeing strong demand across most of its markets, including a recovery in holiday bookings for Turkey and Egypt, growth in British demand for popular Spanish resorts had levelled off.

Tour operators raced to boost capacity in the western Mediterranean last year after security concerns hit travel to Egypt and Turkey. That makes last year's growth spike tough to match as rivals have also boosted their Spanish capacity.

"We have a very competitive market environment from the UK to Spain," Thomas Cook chief executive Peter Fankhauser said, adding that it was acting to support prices by focussing on higher margin hotels.

"We don't have growth in Spain, but ... we are shifting capacity into Greece and Turkey and following customer demand."   Continued...

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