THOMAS Cook has relaunched their website, a year after Britain’s oldest tour operator went bust.
Now operating online only, Brits can book holidays once again through the website, with deals to Italy, Greece and Turkey.
Only selling holidays to destinations currently on the government’s travel corridor list, the company is licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and is ATOL-protected.
They will only operate as an online website – and won’t be relaunching their stores – with thousands of hotels and flights on the website, ranging from self-catered to all-inclusive, five star options.
- Three nights in Rome at four-star hotel with return flights from £252 (£126 per person for two)
- Seven nights all-inclusive in Bodrum at five-star hotel with return flights from £1,250 (£312 per person for a family of four)
Chinese shareholder Fosun, who retained a large number of shares in Thomas Cook, is thought to be behind the return of the former travel company.
Alan French, Thomas Cook’s UK CEO, said: “We have reinvented one of the most recognisable names in British travel.”
He added: “We are launching now clearly aware of the short-term challenges posed by the pandemic.
“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 also won’t charge customers a fee to change their holidays if government rules change.”
Mr French acknowledged the crisis it faced last year, which made 21,000 staff members redundant and left 150,000 holidaymakers stranded abroad: “Re-launching Thomas Cook as a business designed for today’s holidaymaker is an honour.
“What happened last year was a tragedy at a personal level for many thousands of my former colleagues, our business partners and of course our loyal customers.
“The resilience and affection still felt for the Thomas Cook brand reflects the huge commitment and professionalism of those former colleagues. We are very much in their debt and hope to have their backing as we look to take the brand into a new era.”
Why did Thomas Cook collapse?
Last year, the 178-year-old tour operator went into administration.
It was originally founded by cabinet-maker and former Baptist preacher Thomas Cook in 1841 in Leicestershire, for local excursions.
The tour operator fell victim to multiple setbacks including changing travel habits and the rise of online booking sites.
It was also hit by the sinking pound and unusually hot weather which encouraged fewer Northern Europeans to travel.
They originally agreed a £900million rescue deal with Fosun in August 2019- but lenders then demanded another £200million.
Thomas Cook also struggled with massive debts which saw its value plummet from £2.2bn to £180m in one year.
However, Rory Boland, Which? Travel, editor, warned that while Thomas Cook were once a recognised brand for British families, trust in the UK travel industry has fallen during the pandemic.
He explained: “While some previous Thomas Cook customers may be pleased to see it relaunching as an online travel agent, the events of the past few months should act as a reminder that just because a brand is a household name does not mean you can necessarily rely on it to treat you fairly.
“Package holidays booked through Thomas Cook would be ATOL protected, however many of the big online travel agents have proven time and time again through the pandemic they aren’t able to offer the same level of protection or customer service as better, traditional tour operators, making it difficult to secure refunds that customers are legally owed for cancelled holidays.
“Anyone looking to book with Thomas Cook should check its terms and conditions carefully first to make sure they understand what rights they have if their trip is disrupted by changing government rules on travel corridors, and under what circumstances they can claim a full refund.”
It follows a number of complaints from On The Beach customers who failed to get refunds for their holidays, only for the website to remove themselves from the ABTA scheme which…
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