Chinese owners revive Thomas Cook as online-only holiday firm

Photo: Reuters

Thomas Cook re-emerged as an onlineonly travel company on Wednesday, backed by its Chinese owners, a year after the high-profile collapse of the British company left thousands stranded, out of work and out of pocket.

China-based Fosun Tourism Group, which was the biggest shareholder in the original Thomas Cook and also owns Club Med, said it was reviving the name to sell holidays online, having bought the brand and online assets last November.

Thomas Cook was founded in 1841 and was the world’s oldest travel firm until it went bankrupt in September 2019, some six months before the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc across the travel industry.

The new Thomas Cook will sell holidays to destinations on Britain’s safe travel corridor list including Italy, Greece and Turkey, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

But the timing of the launch during the pandemic could raise eyebrows. Many airlines and holiday companies have been brought to their knees, including the world’s biggest travel company TUI Group, which has had to rely on German state support.

Thomas Cook‘s UK CEO Alan French said that launching during the pandemic posed short term challenges but Fosun was taking a long-term view.

“Our new business will combine fantastic UK-based customer service with an updated operating model protected by Atol and with the backing of a multi-billion-dollar organisation,” he said.

Atol is a UK financial protection scheme for holidays, giving customers confidence in their booking.

Fosun said Thomas Cook‘s relaunch in Britain would support the growth of the brand in China.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.