Thomas Cook, World’s Oldest Travel Agency, Is Back

Almost a year to the date after it collapsed, leaving thousands of travelers stranded, Thomas Cook – the world’s oldest travel agency – is back.

The 178-year-old operator has relaunched under its same famous name, but this time as an online travel agency under new, Chinese ownership, according to CNN.

It is perhaps a good sign for travel agents, even if it’s online, given that the world is still in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and demand for travel has been devastated. As a result, the Great Britain-based company will use its new website to service “quarantine-free destinations” from the United Kingdom, such as Corfu, Cyprus and Rome.

Thomas Cook was acquired in November of 2019 by Fosun Tourism, a Chinese company that also owns Club Med. Fosun Chairman and CEO Qian Jiannong said Wednesday the brand’s revival in England followed the launch of another online platform for Thomas Cook in China last month.

“As one of the world’s leading tourism and leisure groups, the group values Thomas Cook’s 180 years’ heritage and global brand influence,” he said in a statement. “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.”

Thomas Cook shocked the travel advisor world last year, collapsing on Sept. 23 and stranding thousands of travelers worldwide.

“Thomas Cook has confirmed that all the UK companies in its group have ceased trading, including Thomas Cook Airlines,” the company said at the time. “As a result, we are sorry to inform you that all holidays and flights provided by these companies have been canceled and are no longer operating. All Thomas Cook’s retail shops have also closed.”

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