New online Thomas Cook is powered by staff from Peterborough

Thomas Cook. EMN-191110-152321009

About a third of the 50 staff that have been recruited for the new online-only travel business were working with Thomas Cook at Lynch Wood before its collapse a year ago.

The online Thomas Cook has been launched by China-based Fosun Tourism Group which acquired the brand and online assets of Thomas Cook in November last year.

The new company will keep the brand’s familiar ‘Sunny Heart’ logo.

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Fosun was one of the largest shareholders in Thomas Cook at the time of the 178 year old tour operator’s collapse on September 23 last year.

Thomas Cook had employed more than 1,000 people in Peterborough and 21,000 worldwide.

It’s collapse promoted the creation of a Government backed action group to help beleaguered staff find new jobs with many featuring in a series of new ventures.

A number of IT experts from Thomas Cook combined to set up a tech company called IT Naturally and creating 25 jobs, many others joined the Sunderland based Hays Travel and some joined a new arrival in the city Major Travel. A group of five former Thomas Cook staff in Peterborough have just launched their own online tour operator called Sunny Heart Travel.

A spokesperson for the new Thomas Cook said: “We currently employ 50 people who are based remotely around the UK.

“This includes some of the staff from the former Thomas Cook business, including those who were at the former head office in Peterborough.

“About a third of our staff are based in Peterborough.”

Alan French, Thomas Cook’s UK chief executive, said: “We have reinvented one of the most recognisable names in British travel.

“Our new business will combine fantastic UK based customer service with an updated operating model protected by Atol and with the backing of a multi-billion-dollar organisation.”

The challenges posed by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic are guiding the company’s immediate operations.

Mr French said: “We are launching now clearly aware of the short-term challenges posed by the pandemic.

“We and our Fosun backers are taking the long view and we want to offer choice, customisation, and 24/7 on-holiday customer care to families who wish to travel now and in the future.

“We know Brits are keen to travel but feel nervous about safety and any changes to government rules on quarantine.

“We are only selling destinations on the travel corridor list and all the hotels are flexible.

“We also won’t charge customers a fee to change their holidays if government rules change.

“We will use a trust model to ring-fence customers’ payments, meaning Thomas Cook only receives customers’ money once they’ve returned from holiday.”

Peterborough Telegraph