The shocking news this week was the sad end of the original package holiday provider Thomas Cook.
Thomas Cook started life as Thomas Cook & Son, the brainchild of Derbyshire-born Thomas Cook. In 1841 he took 500 temperance campaigners from Leicester to a teetotal rally in Loughborough, earning a shilling for each person. 1855 saw his first overseas trip, a ‘grand tour’ of Belgium, Germany and France. Thomas Cook acquired an office on Fleet Street, London, in 1865, and with his son, John Cook formed Thomas cook & Son.
Thomas Cook enjoyed 178 years as the world’s oldest travel company before its tragic collapse on the 23rd September 2019.
Although my career in the world of travel started with their main rivals Thomson, it was still very sad news to hear of their demise.
I do not want to point the finger at who is ultimately responsible for their sad end, and I know that a lot of people will have had their travel plans either affected or indeed ruined, but they will all get another holiday. That is why we have ATOL, ABTA and travel insurance.
The Civil Aviation Authority said it had to refund 360,000 customers, three times larger than any previous refund programme.
The people I feel sorry for are their loyal staff who have served them well over the years. No-one likes to see someone lose their job, especially when it was not their fault. The good news is that I have already heard of ex-Thomas Cook staff securing positions with TUI, Easyjet and Jet2 amongst others.
Also, the knock-on effect will be felt by hoteliers around the world, with some hotels reporting that they`re half empty as they had so many rooms reserved for Thomas Cook guests.
I have even heard reports of customers having to pay extra money to continue with their holidays as the hotels have not been paid by Thomas Cook.
All in all, it is such a sad end to this historic company but I fear it may not be the last one to disappear from our high street.