The relaunched online Thomas Cook UK saw “vigorous growth momentum” last year despite the Covid-19 pandemic and strict travel curbs in Europe.
The firm, which resumed operations in 2020 under Chinese owner Fosun Tourism Group, achieved 27,000 bookings during limited travel periods in 2021, a near 60-fold increase year-on-year.
The UK arm of Thomas Cook recorded turnover of approximately RMB 383 million (£45 million), according to Hong Kong-based Fosun Tourism’s annual results.
Fosun said: “Although Thomas Cook relaunched for only 18 months, the app recorded cumulatively about 2.6 million downloads. Total business volume in China and UK in 2021 surged by close to three fold year-on-year to more than RMB 740.9 million.
“During the year, Thomas Cook China achieved business volume of RMB357.9 million, a 95.1% increase year-on-year.
“By the end of 2021, the Thomas Cook app recorded cumulatively about 2.6 million downloads and brought approximately 270,000 orders, almost three times than that of 2020.
“After resuming operation in 2020, Thomas Cook UK saw vigorous growth momentum despite the pandemic prevailing and strict travel restrictions in Europe.
“During the limited travel periods of the year, it recorded business volume of approximately RMB383 million and 27,000 orders, realising nearly 60-fold increase.”
The first two months of 2022 saw Thomas Cook UK achieve business volume of RMB249.5 million (£30 million), an increase of nearly 11 times compared to the same period last year.
Club Med, also owned by Fosun, saw a rapid rebound from the pandemic in the second half of 2021 and the company plans 17 new resorts by 2024.
Bookings at the all-inclusive resort operator rose by 300% in the first two months of 2022, showing a recovery to 92% of 2019 pre-pandemic levels.
Fosun Tourism is striving for a turn-around after suffering a loss of more than RMB 1 billion in 2020. The group reported adjusted earnings [ebitda] of RMB 3 million in the second half of 2021.
The group said: “In the first half of 2021, most of our resorts were closed due to the epidemic control measures implemented by different countries and our business has been significantly affected.
“However, with different countries rolling out vaccination schemes and European countries gradually relaxing travel restrictions, the group quickly made deployment and resumed business. Especially driven by the strong rebound of Club Med, the group recorded satisfactory business performances for second half of 2021.”
Chairman and chief executive Qian Jiannong said: “In 2021, Fosun Tourism saw a strong recovery of its businesses worldwide.
“With Club Med business in particular managing a strong rebound, we are confident of returning to profitable in 2022.
“The tourism industry is accelerating the formation of a new pattern, and the two-way adjustment of supply and demand is promoting the tenacious recovery of tourism.
“While focusing on business recovery, Fosun Tourism is also actively building a high-quality tourism ecosystem to meet the changing trend of market supply and demand, and to better meet the needs of tourism for a better life and the upgraded tourism consumption demand through product quality upgrading, as well as maximising the development potential of the company.
“Looking ahead to 2022, with anti-pandemic restrictions relaxing gradually overseas, while deeply engaged in the regional market, we will strive to maintain a good momentum for fully recovering our businesses worldwide.
“We will also continue to uphold our strategy of upscale, global, digital and ecological. We are committed to innovation, achieving stable and long-term development, and planning for future growth, so that we may deliver better business results to reward shareholders for their support.”
Former Club Med boss Henri Giscard d’Estaing, now vice chairman and deputy chief executive of Fosun Tourism Group, said: “2021 has been very contrasted between the first half of the year, which has been massively impacted in our international markets by sanitary situation, and the second half with a strong recovery.
“In the second half of the year, with countries starting to remove travel restriction, we could reopen progressively most of our resorts outside of south-east Asia, and accelerate our dual engine ‘glocal’ strategy.
“We had to adapt massively, but we are now even stronger, thanks to the reinforced unique selling proposition of Club Med and its profitable business model.
“We have opened four magnificent resorts and completed four major renovations.
‘With our successful strategy and clearly defined challenges, we are definitely in position to rebound, despite the various sanitary, economic, and geopolitical uncertainties.”