Eileen Saunders Travel Counsellors agent insight

The travel industry bids a fond farewell to Thomas Cook

Eileen Saunders from Travel Counsellors recalls how Thomas Cook played a big part in her life 

It's the end of an era − that pretty well summed up the feelings of most people hearing the devastating news of the Thomas Cook collapse last week.

September 23, 2019 will go down in travel history as the day we bade a fond farewell to our oldest, and the world’s best-known, travel company.

Thomas Cook was a true pioneer when he started the very first travel agency back in 1841. The brand has survived two world wars, the reigns of six British monarchs and numerous changes throughout that time, not least the invention of flight.

It’s really hard to believe that such an iconic name, and one that we’ve all known throughout our lifetimes, had received its “final call” and it’s inevitable that we will all feel the loss in some way or the other.

Personally, Thomas Cook played a big part in my life so I’m very sad to see them go. I was barely “out of nappies” when I started working there – actually, I was a teenager so maybe just “wet behind the ears”.

I trained there, spent many enjoyable years there, made lifelong friends, and even met my husband via the company, so unsurprisingly my Thomas Cook days hold very special memories for me. I’m sure many of you have your own special memories too.

While agents and suppliers have been working hard to sort out their current Thomas Cook bookings, some (including Travel Counsellors) have taken time to reach out to Thomas Cook staff and even customers who haven’t booked with them, to offer help and advice. Meanwhile, some are arranging recruitment roadshows around the country. It’s great to see the way our industry rallies round to help each other when faced with difficult events like this and I’m sure this assistance and care will reap its own rewards.

On a lighter note, did you know that Thomas Cook was a committed teetotaller and that the first escorted tours he organised were for the Temperance Society? I thought you’d enjoy the irony in that!

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