Comment: Third-party agents get their due

Comment: Third-party agents get their due

How refreshing to hear Thomas Cook assert this week its desire to work with third-party agents.

UK managing director Chris Mottershead made clear the group’s intent after addressing the Freedom Travel Group and The Co-operative Personal Travel Advisors’ conference at the weekend, insisting: “If customers want to book through someone else, why wouldn’t I want that booking?”

Chief executive Peter Fankhauser repeated the same message after announcing a return to profit at the group last week, an acknowledgment of the contribution third-party agents have made to Cook’s recovery. Let’s hope Cook can now consign its troubles to the past.

The return to profit at the world’s oldest travel brand came as a somewhat younger rival, Travel Republic, took a fresh step towards embracing the package holiday.

Travel Republic came to prominence as an online agent, but the antithesis of the traditional holiday seller, to the extent that it faced prosecution by the CAA in 2009 over its failure to trade under an Atol licence. It won, of course. Now part of dnata, Travel Republic sells Atol-protected holidays and now cruises.

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