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Thomas Cook ‘reinvented’ online after £11,000,000 buyout following collapse


Thomas Cook relaunches online
Caption: Thomas Cook relaunches online

Thomas Cook has relaunched itself as an online travel company backed by Chinese investors. 

The 178-year-old travel group collapsed in September 2019 but has been ‘reinvented’ online after Chinese firm Fosun Tourism Group acquired it for £11 million.

On Wednesday it began selling holidays over the phone and online, employing 50 people and keeping the brand’s logo. However, it has no physical stores. 

The company’s failure a year ago led to 9,000 job losses and the repatriation of around 150,000 holidaymakers who were overseas.

Alan French, who was group strategy and technology director at Thomas Cook when it collapsed, is the new UK chief executive of the restarted travel agency.

He described the relaunch as ‘an honour’, adding: ‘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.’

In a promotional video, the company claimed: ‘Life has changed, and so have we.’

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Mr French pledged that the new travel agency’s customers can be ‘reassured their money is protected’ due to its ‘robust financial structure’.

The new brand only offers trips to destinations that UK holidaymakers can return from without entering quarantine, currently including Italy, Turkey and parts of Greece.

The travel industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with the self-isolation requirement causing demand for foreign breaks to plummet.

Mr French continued: ‘We have reinvented one of the most recognisable names in British travel. Our new business will combine fantastic UK-based customer service with an updated operating model protected by Atol and with the backing of a multibillion-dollar organisation.

‘We are launching now clearly aware of the short-term challenges posed by the pandemic. We and our Fosun backers are taking the long view and we want to offer choice, customisation and 24/7 on-holiday customer care to families who wish to travel now and in the future.


The company no longer has physical stores (Picture: Getty Images)

‘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.’

Jim Qian, chairman and chief executive of Fosun Tourism Group, said: ‘Thomas Cook has a proud heritage and after acquiring the brand last year we wanted to quickly return it to its home in the UK.

‘Supporting the growth of the brand in China and its relaunch in the UK is a big step in our plan to turn Thomas Cook into a global success story and a key milestone in the development of the Fosun Tourism Group’s strategy.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

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MORE: Thomas Cook ‘could relaunch as online travel agent this month’



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