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Thomas Cook relaunches as an online travel business under Chinese ownership

Thomas Cook relaunches as an online travel business under Chinese ownership

Thomas Cook is back — this time, with a different business model.

The British tour operator relaunched on Wednesday as an online-only venture, one year after a collapse that left hundreds of thousands of travelers stranded.

The company has reinvented itself as a digital booking platform as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hobble global demand for travel.

Its new website caters only to “quarantine-free destinations” from the United Kingdom, such as Corfu, Cyprus and Rome.

Thomas Cook went bust last September, leaving 600,000 travelers grounded and wiping out thousands of jobs. The company’s previous business was centered on selling flights on its own airline, along with hotel rooms, from brick-and-mortar stores.

The 179-year-old brand was acquired in November by Fosun Tourism, a Chinese company that also owns Club Med.

Fosun Chairman and CEO Qian Jiannong said Wednesday that the brand’s British revival 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.”

— Clare Duffy and Rob McLean contributed to this report.

 

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