Speak to any Thomas Cook or The Co-operative Travel Group employee and they will tell you the past nine months since the retail merger was announced have been a rather unsettling time.
The staff have just had to get on with their jobs, not really knowing what was around the corner for them.
Cook’s announcement on Tuesday of a profit warning will have only added to their uncertainty, particularly with some predicting that, assuming the tie-up still goes ahead, it will now be with some very strict conditions attached.
People are rightly asking why Cook, whose share price has plummeted from 234p last year to 88p this week, would want another 300 shops when consumer mood on the high street is so poor and analysts are predicting the tough economic climate could continue for another two years.
Trying to keep staff motivated through that level of turmoil is some feat and my heart goes out to all the staff at both companies for whom everything has been – and remains – so up in the air.
But with preliminary findings from the Competition Commission expected possibly this week, hopefully they will have some clarity soon.
Flying the flag for the States
Meanwhile, much of this week’s print issue of Travel Weekly – which you can read online – is devoted to the US, as we look forward to the first-ever US national promotional body at World Travel Market.
A recent US government survey found that the biggest impediment to Brits visiting the States was its lack of self-promotion, so the UK market will welcome the US’s move to shout about itself with open arms.
We hope the ‘US Special’ helps everyone prepare for a much-anticipated jump in demand.
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