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Chinese owners revive Thomas Cook as online-only holiday brand

Wed, 16th Sep 2020 00:01

LONDON, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Thomas Cook re-emerged as an
online-only 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.
(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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