After collapsing in September last year, Thomas Cook is reportedly set to return to the travel space as an online travel agency.
According to Sky News in the UK, Fosun Tourism Group (the company that purchased the Thomas Cook brand name following its shock demise) is planning to bring back the legacy British travel player as an OTA as early as this month.
Sky News noted that Thomas Cook’s online-only return will depend on Fosun gaining regulatory clearances, along with any tightening of quarantining restrictions for those living in Britain.
If Thomas Cook was to relaunch in September, it could coincide with the first anniversary of the 178-year-old brand’s entry into liquidation.
And, it appears headway has already been made on Thomas Cook’s rebirth, with a website already in existence.
However, it appears the online relaunch was always on the cards for Fosun, with Bloomberg reporting back in December 2019 that the Thomas Cook platform would debut in the first half of this year.
One can only assume that COVID-19 has had something to do with the delay.
Thomas Cook’s collapse was one of the biggest travel industry stories of 2019. It left an estimated 600,000 travellers in the lurch, and also resulted in mass job losses.
In October last year, KPMG oversaw the sale of Thomas Cook’s 555 High Street shops to Hays Travel.
A government inquiry soon after Thomas Cook’s collapse saw executives grilled, with the company’s inability to adapt and compete with online rivals being put down to perceived failures in leadership.
A report from the UK Insolvency Service issued in December 2019 found that Thomas Cook owed more than $17 billion when it collapsed.
Thomas Cook India was not affected by the collapse, as it has been operating as a completely separate entirely since being acquired by Fairfax Financial in August 2012.
Travel Weekly has contacted Fosun for comment.