The Sept. 23 shutdown of UK tour operator Thomas Cook has sent out ripples and waves worldwide, affecting millions who had scheduled travel packages using the failed operator. Its impact has been direct and measurable for some destinations, including the United States—it is the number one long-haul destination for British travelers—and, in particular, Orlando.
As reported by Travel Daily News, 38 countries have been affected by the operator’s failure, especially in Europe, and more than 8.6 million flight seats will be canceled from the time of the closure until end of August 2020, according to the last flights programming (for the period September 1, 2019 –August 31, 2020) announced by the company at the beginning of September
Reacting to the news, Mabrian Technologies, a travel intelligence firm based on the Spanish island of Menorca that monitors tourist dynamics globally by cross-analyzing Big Data from multiple sources, has measured the effects of the shutdown by tallying the number of seat flights disaggregated by country and specific destinations or airport.
Meanwhile, We’ll Have to Wait for Another Key Number: September 30 was to have been the deadline for UK tour operators to renew their Air Travel Organizer’s License (ATOL), which the UK’s Civilian Aviation Authority (CAA) uses, in effect, as a hedge for consumers against operator failures, guaranteeing that UK international holiday makers will be flown home if there is a failure.
Instead, the deadline for granting renewals to companies that have not had their licenses renewed has be extended to Oct. 25. Even so, firms seeking renewal still had to make their application for an ATOL by September 30.
Head of licensing operations for ATOL, Michael Budge, said: “Given the exceptional circumstances and redistribution of our internal resources at the CAA to support the repatriation effort [in the wake of the failure of Thomas Cook], we have taken the exceptional decision that all licenses that have yet to be granted will now have the license period extended until October 25, 2019 to be approved.”
For observers and analysts of the UK’s tour operator industry, the semi-annual renewals are a measure of how the industry is doing, with revisions to annual ATOL totals followed closely. Because Thomas Cook, the Number 3 operator on the ATOL/CAA list, will be gone, it will be interesting to see if other top operators have increased their license numbers … or not.
To view the INBOUND table based on the most recent ATOL list six months ago, visit: https://www.inboundreport.com/2019/04/16/the-top-50-tour-operators-in-the-uk/