Thomas Cook to expand as demand for Egypt, Turkey rises
CAIRO/LONDON: Thomas Cook is set to move into hotel ownership with a range of own-brand accommodation as demand for trips to Egypt and Turkey shows early signs of bouncing back.
Tourists’ demand for Turkey and Egypt has continued to increase partly because of cheap prices. These destinations helped to increase sales for winter breaks, which are up 3% on last year.
The tour operator has bought a 42% stake in Germany-based holiday company Aldiana, which has eight clubs across Europe and Tunisia and has plans to open another four resorts in the next two years. So far Thomas Cook’s range of ownbrand hotels, including Sentido and Casa Cook, has been in either franchised or managed arrangements, whereby hotels are leased from landlords.
The UK firm bought the stake in Aldiana from LMEY, a Swissbased hotel property development company. The two businesses have agreed to fund at least another five owned and directly managed hotel properties with a view to acquiring more sites on which to develop accommodation. The move comes just weeks after Thomas Cook announced a tie-up with Expedia, which it will use to offer its customers a greater range of hotel options, including those owned by third parties.
The company said that augmenting the own-brand hotel portfolio was a ‘critical part’ of its strategy. It also said its summer holiday programme was 91% sold, up 2% compared to the prior year.