Thomas Cook calls time on Club 18-30

Thomas Cook calls time on Club 18-30

Senior trade figures have paid homage to iconic youth brand Club 18-30 following news it will be wound up after the last flight returns to Manchester on October 30.

Parent Thomas Cook this week confirmed it could not find a buyer for the £5 million-valued brand, founded in 1965.

Cook is to concentrate instead on its ‘stripped back’ Cook’s Club brand, introduced in April.

The last holiday for Club 18-30, which in its 1990s heyday carried 100,000 passengers a year, will be from Manchester to Magaluf.

John McEwan, chairman of Holidaysplease, was UK managing director of Cook when it took over Club 18-30 in 1998.

He said: “It allowed young people to join groups, at low cost, and have fun while occasionally taking it to the extreme.”

But its closure was “inevitable”, he said. “Today, young people have a more individualistic approach to holidays and don’t necessarily like being herded into group activities.”

G Adventures managing director Brian Young, a Club 18-30 rep from 1988 to 1992, said: “It’s disappointing because it’s such an iconic brand. But younger people want different things now.”

Danny Talbot, chief operating officer for Tourvest’s global sports division, worked for Club 18-30 from 1982 to 1991. He said: “It’s always sad to see something you loved come to an end, although in truth it had been drinking at the last chance saloon for a bit now.”

Many said the brand gave them the grounding for their travel careers, from running excursions to contracting hotels.

The Vertical Group’s business development director, Damian McDonough, who worked for Club 18-30 from 1986 to 1993, said: “It was the best apprenticeship you could get.”

Paul Riches, JTA Travel head of specialist sales, said: “The ‘club’ taught me a lot about how to deal with different people and manage difficult situations, and commercial and negotiating skills.”

Club 18-30’s controversial image kept it in the public eye in the 1990s and 2000s. ITV’s Club Reps show in 2002 was said to have boosted bookings significantly.

MoreThomas Cook to wind up Club 18-30

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