We thought it was all over for Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel company, which sadly collapsed last year after it failed to pay £200 million owed to creditors.
The 178-year-old company’s sudden and dramatic collapse left 150,000 holidaymakers stranded abroad and 20,000 staff, including 9,000 in the UK, jobless.
However, in exciting news, Thomas Cook has announced its relaunch today (Wednesday 16 September) as an online travel firm that will initially sell holidays to destinations on the UK government’s safe travel corridor list, including Turkey, Italy and some parts of Greece.
The new website, which features thousands of hotels, as well as flights and transfers, allows customers to design their holidays with other add-ons including car hire and travel insurance.
The site currently sells single-destination trips by air only, but multi-stop trips and other transport options such as train and ferry may be on the cards, according to a spokesperson.
Thomas Cook employed 9,000 people in the UK, but the new company will employ just 50 people, who will work remotely.
The relaunch comes at a time when the travel industry is facing an unprecedented crisis with the ongoing impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
According to Thomas Cook UK chief executive officer Alan French, the revived company is using a trust model to protect payments and will only receive customers’ money once they return from holiday. Holidaymakers also won’t be charged fees to rearrange their trips if government rules change.
In a statement, French said: “We are launching now clearly aware of the short-term challenges posed by the pandemic,” French said. “We and our Fosun backers are taking the long view.
“We know Brits are keen to travel but feel nervous about safety and any changes to government rules on quarantine. We are only selling destinations on the travel corridor list and all the hotels are flexible. We won’t charge customers a fee to change their holidays if government rules change.”
Following its collapse, Thomas Cook was bought by Fosun, owned by Chinese billionaire Guo Guangchang, which acquired the brand and online assets in November.
The Shanghai-based group’s other assets include Club Med SAS and include English Premier League football club Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Visit thomascook.com for more information.