How deep is ASEAN affected by Thomas Cook Collapse?

Thailand, ASEAN, Thomas Cook, Asian Trails, bankruptcy

The brutal liquidation of Thomas Cook in the night of Sunday to Monday is a terrible loss for the travel industry as the world’s oldest travel company collapsed after over 175 years in activity.

The collapse of Thomas Cook could not be avoided during the night of Sunday to Monday. In the early hours of Monday morning, Thomas Cook Chief Executive Peter Fankhauser announced in an official statement that “ we have worked exhaustively in the past few days to resolve the outstanding issues on an agreement to secure Thomas Cook’s future for its employees, customers and suppliers.  Although a deal had been largely agreed, an additional facility requested in the last few days of negotiations presented a challenge that ultimately proved insurmountable.

It is a matter of profound regret to me and the rest of the board that we were not successful. I would like to apologise to our millions of customers, and thousands of employees, suppliers and partners who have supported us for many years. Despite huge uncertainty over recent weeks, our teams continued to put customers first, showing why Thomas Cook is one of the best-loved brands in travel.

Generations of customers entrusted their family holiday to Thomas Cook because our people kept our customers at the heart of the business and maintained our founder’s spirit of innovation. This marks a deeply sad day for the company which pioneered package holidays and made travel possible for millions of people around the world.

Thomas Cook plc liquidation is having an immediate effect for 600,000 holiday makers who will be repatriated as they are generally cover by European law on consumers’ protection. Over a million customers who bought a holiday with the company, have seen their vacation going into thin air.

The collapse could however have a ripple effect across the industry for a long time as many incoming travel agencies, destination management companies as well as hotels made the bulk of their business with the travel giant.

In Asia, Thomas Cook Group was present with affiliates in China and India. They are financially independent from the UK operation and are even profitable. Thomas Cook India Ltd, a subsidiary of Fairfax Financial Holdings Canada, acquired in 2017 ownership of Asian Trails Holding with founder Luzi Matzig and co-founder Laurent Kuenzle.

Thailand is indeed the country which is probably the most affected by Thomas Cook Group’s collapse. The group had also signed an agreement in 2018 to create a joint venture Destination Management Company (DMC) in Thailand. The joint venture was named Thomas Cook In Destination Management (Thailand) Ltd. and started operating in November 2018, offering personalised holiday for over 100,000 Thomas Cook customers who visit Thailand every year.

In an interview with the Bangkok Post, Mrs. Srisuda Wanapinyosak, deputy governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) for Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas declared that the Thai hotel industry is due to lose THB120 million (US$40 million) as an average of 27,000 room nights were booked by visitors using Thomas Cook in 2018. It has been learned that Malaysia Airlines is chartering two flights with its Airbus A380 to fly to Manchester passengers stranded in Palma de Majorca. According to the UK Civil Aviation website CAA, no repatriation flight is being organised out of Asia to the UK.