Thomas Cook & Son in the History of Tourism

Thomas Cook and The first Organized Tourist Trip

Thomas Cook & Son History of Tourism. The founder grew up in a Baptist family and was a fervent believer, both traveling through his region as a missionary. I work as a cabinetmaker to earn money. Influenced by his experience as a missionary, he decided to be a teetotaler at age 25. He attributed part of the great social problems of the moment to alcohol consumption.

In a way, his participation in the anti-alcohol league helped him in his work success, since his first organized trip was for a group of 500 teetotalers in 1841, from Leicester to Loughborough, a distance of 11 miles. They paid a shilling each approximately U$S 3.05 today

Thomas Cook & Son - History of Tourism
Thomas Cook & Son – History of Tourism

Trip to the International exhibition in Paris

He repeated the experience over and over, increasing the distance of travel and the risk of investment. In 1845 he dared with a trip of several days between cities. Tourists could visit Leicester, Nottinghan and Derby. Thomas Cook introduced a novelty: the ticket was accompanied by a travel guide, the first in history.

After 10 years, the company had already transcended the British borders. In 1855. Thomas Cook released his first organized tour of Europe for sale. On the occasion of the Universal Exhibition in Paris, he designed a trip with departure in the United Kingdom and stops in cities such as Cologne or Strasbourg. The route ended in Paris.

Thomas Cook & Son all Inclusive

The travel business includes packs with transfers, lodging and also food. I reach commercial agreements with railway companies, buses, hotels, restaurants and guides. Thomas Cook offered a high volume of clients and in return obtained attractive discounts, which allowed him to market his organized trips at low prices.

The First Organized Cruise

Starting in 1864, he incorporated his 30-year-old son John Mason into the family business. Thomas Cook & Son reinvested its profits in the development of new businesses. As the tourism industry was barely developed, they always advanced with innovations.

travel check Thomas Cook & Son in the History of Tourism
Thomas Cook & Son – History of Tourism

In 1865 they opened the first travel agency in London, in a Fleet Street location. In 1875 they began to market their first cruise: a boat trip around Norway. The main attraction of the cruise was to see the midnight sun in the amazing North Cape.

Tourists Make the First Round the World Tour

In September 1872, a steamboat left London to cross the Atlantic. It was part of the first trip around the world. ’
 organized by Thomas Cook in which he himself participated despite being 63 years old. The trip lasted 222 days and covered almost 30,000 miles, arriving in Japan and the United States, on steam, and traveling through China and India.

He organized his famous Tour of the Nile in 1868, but there were no hotels, so tourists traveled in a large caravan, accompanied by 65 horses, 87 mules, tents, beds and tents.

Traveling around the world by Thomas Cook & Son

In 1888, the company had already established offices worldwide, including three in Australia and one in New Zealand. At the end of the 19th century, it was already possible to travel almost anywhere in the world. Another innovation was travelers checks. The company devised and marketed vouchers at the end of 1869 that were purchased at the company’s agencies. With them you could pay at partner hotels. They could also be exchanged for money at their branches.

Nile Voyage Thomas Cook & Son in the History of Tourism
Nile Voyage Thomas Cook & Son History of Tourism

In the late 1920s, its founder’s grandchildren sold the business to the Belgian owners of the Orient Express, but with the outbreak of World War II it was nationalized by the British Government in order to save it from possible Nazi occupation.

After WWII

In the postwar period, the company flourished again by offering vacation packages abroad, although over time it faced increasing competition and was privatized in the 1970s. In 1992 it was bought by the German bank Westdeutsche Landesbank.

In 2001 it was transferred to another German company, C&N Touristic AG, and stores were opened for the sale of tourist packages and the business abroad was expanded. In 2007, it merged with the MyTravel group. At the time of its closure it was the second European tour operator, only behind the Anglo-German group TUI.

Thomas Cook died at the age of 83 in 1892. The company had decades of success ahead of it. Until fierce competition and, above all, the Internet explosion led him to the bankruptcy in 2019

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