Thomas Cook seals deal with Midcounties

Thomas Cook seals deal with Midcounties

Thomas Cook has signed a new deal with Midcounties Co-operative Travel following a “successful” trial which ended in September.

Terms of the partnership, which also apply to Midcounties’ consortium members, have been “cemented for a substantial period”, according to Alistair Rowland, group general manager for specialist retail.

Members attending the consortium’s annual conference in Greece, for which Cook was headline sponsor, were told the commercial terms they had been trialling would continue. Further details have not been disclosed.

Midcounties also has a partnership with Jet2holidays after its airline, Jet2.com, launched 57 weekly flights from Birmingham airport last year.

Asked whether its partnership with Jet2 would conflict with the Cook deal, Rowland said: “We have sufficient distribution to support both Jet2 and Cook strongly.”

He said having “very positive” deals with Jet2 and Cook meant Midcounties could focus on selling its in-house city-break tour operation.

Midcounties Co-operative Travel did not join The Co-operative Travel and Midlands Co-op in the joint venture with Thomas Cook in 2011, which saw all three groups merge to create the UK’s biggest high street travel chain.

The joint venture formally ended last month after The Co-operative Group exercised its option to exit the business in December. Cook has closed a number of stores since and has until November 2018 to lose the Co-operative branding entirely.

Addressing the Kos conference, Rowland said: “We have had our ups and downs with Thomas Cook, but right now and since Phil Gardner [Cook head of commercial] has been in place it’s been solid, robust and constant. The support we get from them is invaluable.”

Gardner told attendees Cook was “reinvesting in the trade”.

More: Special Report: Midcounties’ Co-operative Travel Consortium Conference/a>

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