The Thomas Cook brand is set to be relaunched next week as an online travel agent (OTA), although sources close to the firm have said this is dependent on further changes to the government’s list of ‘safe’ travel destinations.
The travel giant’s revival may be delayed by amendments to travel corridors, a move that would impact its return to trading.
On Thursday, the government removed mainland Portugal from its quarantine exemption and safe to travel lists, although travellers returning to England from Madeira and the Azores are not currently required to self-isolate.
Travel Weekly understands that the removal of the popular tourist destination may be sufficient to defer the launch.
Reports indicate that the OTA would begin trading with a “very cautious” Atol licence that’s only expected to carry fewer than 50,000 passengers in its first year.
This time last year, Thomas Cook held an Atol licence to carry just under 2.5 million passengers per year.
A source said: “Monday’s announcement effectively removed half of Greece but there’s still plenty to go at.
“The biggest worry was winter, so the fact the government has introduced the regionalised approach for islands is a good thing.
“It means there is hope for the Canaries and that’s more important than losing seven Greek islands for the remainder of the summer.”
The stalwart of the British high street ceased trading last year after 178 years of business.
In November last year, the Chinese conglomerate Fosun bought the failing firm for £11 million.
Fosun, previously Thomas Cook’s largest shareholder, has recruited a team of 15 to oversee the OTA revival, including former Cook group strategy and technology director Alan French as CEO, former head of sales, e-commerce and marketing Phil Gardner as chief commercial officer, and former finance executive Raj Sharma as chief financial officer.
In addition to the collapsed travel titan, Fosun also purchased the rights to a series of brands including Cook’s Club and Casa Cook, and is reported to be reviving the company’s “sunny heart” logo for the new launch.
All the countries on the Foreign Office’s updated list of ‘safe’ destinations