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Thomas Cook’s ‘devastating’ collapse a warning to other tourism operators as online sales continue to grow, says GlobalData

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Following today’s news (Monday 23 September) that one of the largest and oldest travel brands is now going into a devastating collapse, this will truly shake and threaten other travel operators within the tourism industry;

Nick Wyatt, Head of Research and Analysis for Travel and Tourism at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on the British tour operator’s demise:

”Thomas Cook’s demise was catalyzed by an accelerating consumer preference for booking holidays online with the UK online travel sales market value set to grow by 6.3% between 2019 and 2020 and 8.4% between 2020 and 2021 according to GlobalData forecasts.

“The age of the typical package holiday tour operator is changing as increasing numbers of holidaymakers use online sites to put together their holidays themselves. The proliferation of internet resources (which range from review sites to booking platforms) has allowed the holidaymaker to play travel agent themselves, thus reducing the need for the services of companies like Thomas Cook.

“Millennial and independent travellers in particular are directing more of their holiday spend online where tour operators like Thomas Cook face fierce competition and this has proved catastrophic.

“Thomas Cook had succeeded in securing a £900m rescue deal led by Fosun just last month but the requirement for more funds has proved too rich for lenders and last-ditch attempts to secure the funds failed.

“It boiled down to whether the likes of Fosun took a view that they were in it so deep they had to make it work or that it was no use throwing good money after bad. They evidently decided on the latter, condemning Thomas Cook to a sad but seemingly inevitable demise.

”Tour operators with a similar strategy and core values should now reconsider their growth strategies, listening to both consumers and employees within their workforce on how to move forward. With changing traveler attitudes this further accentuates how innovation and modernization are key for continual growth in today’s tourism industry.”

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