The future for Thomas Cook

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Thomas_Cook_logoTo the surprise of many who view Thomas Cook as a travel agency and package holiday provider to overseas destinations, Thomas Cook has announced that it will open a theme park in the UK next year.

To be sited at Loughborough where Thomas Cook operated his first ever holiday experience in 1841 from Leicester by train, the theme park will be based on the travel giant’s most popular holiday concepts and brands.

On arrival, visitors will pass through a Victorian version of Fleet Street, a tribute to the London street where Thomas Cook opened his first travel agency in 1865. Aquamania Wet & Wild will feature lazy rivers to crazy cannons, water slides and wave machines. Club Classics will have white knuckle attractions inspired by the Club 18-30 brand, 72 bars and regular DJ sets in the Party Tent from people like Derek Geetar, Dyck Van Paul, Jez Spadenettle, and Justice Jack. Air Tours will give visitors a 360 degree hang-gliding experience in the football pitch-sized ‘Smartline Arena’ and a 3D flight simulator based on this coming December’s sci-fi Blockbuster starring Harry Fordison, Ham Markill and Fishie Carrier.

Is this the first move in a move by the tour operator to build a domestic holiday market or a one-off? The answer the company gives is that the theme park is a celebration of the company’s 175th anniversary which will take place next year.

Others have noticed that the domestic holiday market is ripe for rationalisation and, with Center Parcs up for sale could this be an opportunity for the company to make a move. The domestic holiday market has stood up well over the last few years after years of decline. About a third of all holidays are still taken within our countries but there is no company dominating the market as Thomson and Thomas Cook do in the package holiday market for overseas holidays.

As many of us have found, it is often cheaper to take an overseas holiday than stay at home. That is, in part, due to the business approach taken by companies like Thomas Cook. Could they be about to bring that experience to the UK market?

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