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Case Study: Thomas Cook - Analysis of the travel group’s downfall


Established 178 years ago, Thomas Cook was the oldest travel group in the United Kingdom but a number of different factors led to the company’s demise. The downfall of this much-loved brand will have far reaching consequences. This case study explores those consequences and looks at just what went wrong.

Key Highlights

In September 2019 Thomas Cook went into liquidation causing rolling chaos throughout the travel industry as it left 150,000 British holidaymakers stranded and 21,000 jobs at risk

When Thomas Cook went out of business, it was about ?1.7bn in debt to banks with a further ?1.3bn owed to suppliers.

A parliamentary committee leading an inquiry into the failure of the travel giant also issued a damning verdict of mismanagement by successive bosses.

A rescue deal involving ?200 million to enable Thomas Cook to weather the winter season was abandoned.

Governments across Europe and Africa were plunged into crisis planning mode as they help with the repatriation of more than 500,000 stranded tourists and begin to count the cost of the holiday company’s demise on already-battered economies.


  • This case study explores the consequences of Thomas Cook’s collapse, looks at what went wrong, and provides background on how the company became a giant before collapsing.

    Reasons To Buy
  • Learn about the history of Thomas Cook and how it become the go-to name for package holidays in the UK and beyond.
  • Understand the factors that culminated in Thomas Cook’s demise
  • Assess the impact that Thomas Cook’s collapse could have on the industry in the mid to long term.
  • Understand what is happening with Thomas Cook’s assets in the immediate aftermath of its downfall.