Turbulence Subsiding at Thomas Cook

LONDON -- Thomas Cook (ISE: TCG.L) , the beleaguered holiday getaway operator, announced that its recovery program was going to plan and that the company expects year-end numbers to meet expectations. With a brand-new CEO and CFO, Thomas Cook is looking to escape the drama of the past 18 months.

Despite consumers being under pressure, it appears many were disheartened by the gloomy weather that dominated the summer in Northern Europe and decided to set out for some sunshine on foreign soil. While total capacity available was reduced as Thomas Cook sells off assets to pay down its 1 billion pound net debt position, bookings were better than expected in several markets, including the U.K. and Western Europe.

These are positive developments for Thomas Cook, but there can be little doubt that the headlines surrounding the company's troubles scared some potential customers into the arms of competitor TUI Travel (ISE: TT.L) , which yesterday reported higher bookings and margins as well as strong bookings for next summer's getaways in the U.K.

For investors looking for exposure to the travel sector, TUI may be a better bet; an improving consumer environment should lift both companies, but TUI will pay you a 4.8% dividend while we wait for those sunny days.

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