Thomas Cook to ex­pand as de­mand for Egypt, Turkey rises

The Gulf Today - Business - - Region3 -

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.

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