Chinese owners revive Thomas Cook as online-only holiday brand

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LONDON (AFP) – Thomas Cook re-emerged as an online-only travel company on Wednesday (Sept 16), 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.

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