Thomas Cook is coming to Shanghai.
Founded in 1841 by a cabinet maker from Derbyshire, Thomas Cook is the world’s oldest travel brand and the quintessentially British name in package travel although, in fact, it is mainly owned by German investors. Thomas Cook is expanding into China next year through the acquisition of tour and retail operators.
Travel industry analyst Joseph Thomas of Investec bank, said, ‘The European market is a mature market, so companies are having to use their skills to develop in other areas.’
The Guardian reports Thomas Cook already operates in 20 countries outside the UK.
The company has yet to announce how many shops it plans to open in China, but says the focus will be on ‘high street distribution rather than the internet and call centres’.
For years analysts have been predicting the death of the high street agent at the hands of the internet, but Thomas Cook’s figures suggest otherwise: just 34.7% of holidays are booked online, with the rest coming from retail and call centres.