Thomas Cook planes/Bloomberg
Thomas Cook is set to be relaunched by its Chinese owner, who plans to use the 178-year-old British tour operator’s brand on a travel platform targeting European customers, reported Bloomberg.
Shanghai-based Fosun Tourism Group, the company that acquired Thomas Cook’s trademark following its dramatic collapse in September 2019, will debut the platform in the first half of next year.
Some of Fosun’s existing travel offerings will be grouped together and re-branded as Thomas Cook, with the aim to lure travellers—particularly those in Europe familiar with the name—to the company’s resorts around the world.
Tapping Thomas Cook’s former glory may prove challenging after its bankruptcy led to 9,000 job losses in the UK and left 150,000 tourists stuck overseas, with the holiday plans of thousands more ruined.
Fosun, which owns resort chain Club Med, had acquired 18 per cent of Thomas Cook but balked at the cost of funding its rescue. The Chinese company, part of a wider group spanning insurance to pharmaceuticals, paid GBP 11 million ($14 million) in November 2019 for the trademark and its two hotel brands—Casa Cook and Cook’s Club—along with their domain names, apps and social media accounts.
Founded in the 1840s as an operator of train trips through the English midlands, Thomas Cook’s demise raised questions about the viability of the packaged tour model as tourists pivot more toward individual and self-directed travel.
Controlled by Chinese billionaire Guo Guangchang, the Fosun group drew attention with a raft of global acquisitions over the past few years, from fashion house Lanvin to the circus troupe Cirque du Soleil. It’s pivoted to smaller purchases since the start of 2018, as the Chinese government began to crack down on some of the country’s other big acquirers.