Sep 16, 2020

Thomas Cook relaunches as online-only holiday brand

Thomas Cook, the UK travel company, has relaunched as an online-only holiday brand with fresh investment from Chinese conglomerate Fosun, despite the woes of the travel sector, one of the worst hit by the pandemic. Fosun, which bought the Thomas Cook brand for £11m after the 178-year-old tour operator collapsed after failing to negotiate a £1.1bn bailout in September last year, will invest an additional £6m, a person with knowledge of the deal said. Thomas Cook's long-term rival Tui has been forced to take €2.4bn in loans from the German government, as customers shy away from taking holidays abroad. Hays Travel, which bought Thomas Cook's 550-strong shops business, has made 878 of its employees redundant. "Margins in the travel industry were so minimal before Covid, now they must be negligible," said a former Thomas Cook executive, adding that the company lacked much of a unique selling point beyond "Being a once admired brand trying to take on Expedia with inferior technology". In July, Fosun launched a Thomas Cook app in China, focused on selling domestic holidays to the Chinese as well as other products from the company's portfolio, which includes the fashion brand Lanvin and the entertainment company Cirque du Soleil.

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