Package holiday day

By | Category: Travel news
Did the great man have a logo. This one lasted until this century

Did the great man have a logo. This one lasted until this century

No, this isn’t a public holiday but maybe it should be since an event on this day, 175 years, ago transformed our holiday habits.

Today is the day when, on the 5th of July 1841, Thomas Cook ran a one-day rail excursion at a shilling a head from Leicester to Loughborough. Since that day, packaging together trips to include transport and sightseeing has developed into a multi-billion pound business. No member of the Cook family is still involved with the now German owned company that still bears his name but surely Cook would be surprised at how his idea has transformed our leisure habits.

Up until his time, the upper and middle classes would be the only people that travelled for leisure. Read Jane Austen and biographies of eighteenth century and nineteenth century well-to-do people and going on the Grand Tour or taking the waters at some trendy watering hole like Bath or Harrogate might be all you hear about. People hired carriages, organised their own travel (usually with their own staff) and that was it.

The coming of the railway altered life as now, places that were a day’s travel away by mail coach could now be reached in hours. With third class train travel, the working man and his family could get away as well.

Before long, Cook was organising travel outside of the UK to different parts of the world and other companies mushroomed to copy his success.

to be succeeded by this un-named version

to be succeeded by this un-named version

Today holiday companies not only put together the travel and sightseeing element but accommodation, excursions, airport transfers, car hire, travel insurance often using their own fleet of planes , their own hotels and their own branded insurance. Sir Richard Branson is package trips into space; if you have millions you can go into outer space or charter your own ship or plane. Any part of the world is open to the dedicated traveller and that includes hotspots such as Afghanistan (snow skiing) and even Syria. This year at the international travel trade fair in Berlin, Iraq had one of the biggest stands as they worked to encourage holiday companies to package tour there.

The ship as a method of transport seemed doomed as planes moved the holidaymaker quicker than ever before. Now ships are floating hotels taking millions of people on cruises to see attractive  a number of destinations in one holiday. Steam trains which looked to be part of our historical past and dinosaurs in the mid nineteen-sixties now provide days out and luxury tours in elegantly provided accommodation.

In another 175 years would we recognise the holiday industry as it changes? Probably not, but. It just might include popping over to Mars for the weekend, trekking through asteroid belts and sunning yourself under one of the artificial suns created by the next generation of holiday entrepreneurs.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Tags: , ,