Saga Group has said its travel sales are continuing to meet its “ambitious plan” after reporting a “solid” performance for the first half of its financial year.
Pre-tax profits for the half year to July 31 for the company’s travel division were £12 million against £11.9 million over the same period in 2017.
Total travel revenue declined slightly year-on-year to £228.7 million against £230.4 million.
Saga’s tour operations generated revenues of £181.1 million, down from £185.5 million in 2017, while its cruise business was up at £47.6 million from £44.9 million in the previous year.
This reflected a 3,000 increase in passenger days with a rise in capacity.
Saga said the construction of its first new-build ship, Spirit of Discovery, continued “to be on time and on budget” for its maiden cruise in July 2019, while demand for the 999-passenger “boutique” vessel, “continues to support our ambitious plan.
“We have achieved over 64% of our sales target for the first 19 cruises starting June 2019, at per diems [per day] that continue to be in line with our expectations. We have now sold over 90% of targeted capacity for her first five cruises,” Saga said.
For its tour operations, Saga saw the number of holidaymakers fall by 7.3% to 89,000 while cruise passengers carryings rose by 7.7% to 14,000.
Underlying pre-tax profit for tour operations was in line with the same period last year at £7.2 million, while cruise achieved underlying pre-tax profit of £4.8 million against £4.7 million.
Lance Batchelor, group chief executive, said: "Travel has delivered a solid performance and we are seeing encouraging demand for our new ship, Spirit of Discovery, in line with our ambitious plan.”