Thomas Cook/Hays Travel

Thomas Cook – The Phoenix

Thomas Cook went into administration on the 23rd September 2019 after 178 years of trading.
Almost 10,000 UK staff lost their jobs and 10,000s of people were left on holiday not knowing
how they would return home. 100,000s more worried about the holidays they had booked but
that were now not going to materialise.

Less than three weeks later, Hays Travel, a privately owned travel agency based in Sunderland,
purchased all 550 Thomas Cook shops from the administrator.

John Hays, 70, founded Hays Travel in the back room of his mother’s children’s wear shop in
1980 subsequently built a successful chain of travel shops in the north-east of England with a
turnover of close to £1,bn.

In October of 2019 he quadrupled the size of his business and has committed to employing
2500 ex Thomas Cook employees.

Why is this important for Explorer Travel?

As part of the Hays Independence Group of travel agents, this acquisition by Hays is extremely
important to Explorer as it means that we are part of the largest chain of travel agents in the UK
both on the high street and online.

Being the biggest has great advantages. The combined turnover of Hays and the Independence
Group is now greater than some of the largest tour operators in the UK which means that they
will be more keen than ever to do business with us. We, in turn, will have the benefit of much
higher commissions and greater support from all our suppliers.

There has never been a better time to be part of this success. In the coming months and years
our franchisees will see a significant increase in commissions and profitability.

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