Thomas Cook Chinese owner sees sunny horizon

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Fosun, owner of Thomas Cook, has ambitious expansion plans for its brands after the global economy improves.

The Chinese travel firm, which also owns Club Med, hopes to take the battered industry firmly once the vaccine is introduced.

It returned Thomas Cook to China in July, describing it with over 170,000 customers.

This week it relaunched the brand as an online travel agency in the UK but says it is only “phase one”.

Thomas Cook left thousands of his clients stranded abroad last year. Since it has been completely taken over by China’s Fosun Tourism Group.

Fosun was already a major shareholder in Thomas Cook, before it collapsed last September. One year later and it has moved to both Britain and China.

Jim Qian, chief executive officer and chairman of Fosun Tourism Group, told the BBC, “In China, Thomas Cook has been moved more than an online travel agency. Instead, it is a lifestyle platform that relates to related products and services. Provides a range of. ”

This lifestyle platform includes hotels, tickets, entertainment, education and retailers selling gifts and souvenirs. It even includes a delivery firm, which helps heavy buyers to return to their homes during the holidays.

“We launched in the UK as an online travel agency, but we want to add more and more, so it becomes a similar platform,” Mr Qian said.

The timing of UK Colonna has been questioned in view of the current Kovid-19 travel-related recession and strict restrictions.

“It was a soft launch to test the process and make sure things are working well before they fully recover. We will gradually add more products to this platform.”

Strong recovery

Fosun has already seen a strong recovery in tourism within China for all its travel and leisure brands, including the high-resort chain Chain Med.

Club Med Resort is gradually reopening globally and intends to expand the Fosun upmarket brand. It has started construction of 10 new resorts to be ready for the end of 2022 and more are in the pipeline

In China it has also launched a new brand called Club Made Joyview aimed at younger med-break passengers.

“Companies that can survive this travel recession will be very strong on the other side because they have shown that they can be managed efficiently,” Mr Qian said.

Concept store

He plans to start a handful of bricks and mortar Thomas Cook stores starting in Shanghai early next year. While they will be “multifunctional and more than just travel agencies”, they will not be on a large scale.

The first store will feature attractions such as skiing machines and ski instructors, cafes serving exotic drinks, and children’s education classes.

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Thomas Cook’s new store in Shanghai will not be just a travel agency.

“We want to test a lot of things in China that could be launched globally in the future. These new-style concept stores reflect our commitment to a solid offline presence at physical resorts such as Club Med chain Build. ”

Thomas Cook has been working in China for over 100 years. The UK brand entered into a joint venture partnership with Fosun in 2016 and then came under full Chinese ownership following its demerger last year.

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