Remarks given during opening speech at Tokyo Convention
The failure of Thomas Cook was more a failure of corporate finance than a failure of the travel industry, according to the boss of ABTA.
Speaking at The Travel Convention in Tokyo, Mark Tanzer, the CEO of the industry body said that: “Thomas Cook’s financial challenges were no secret, but the full extent of their indebtedness has only come to light recently.
“Thomas Cook paid £1.2bn in finance charges over the past six years, plus goodness knows how much in advisory fees. Those were profits from its holiday business, money that in a more balanced financial model would have been available to invest and develop the business.”
He added that: “The pain of the Thomas Cook failure is being felt very widely in our industry, by tour operators, travel agents, hotels and other suppliers. There is a lot of anger and fear, and the desire to look for someone to blame is understandable. But we really do have to work together at this moment, to maintain customer confidence, to find new homes for displaced businesses, and to try to recruit former Thomas Cook staff, who constitute an immense repository of talent and experience.
“When that job is done, we can and should ask what lessons can be learned, especially about when money is collected and when it passed on, when people and companies are financially protected and when not. And at the very least we need to ensure that everyone in the chain understands the system and makes commercial decisions on an informed basis.”