Political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa was the primary reason given by TC for its disappointing results. Apparently, a drop in bookings from French customers to destinations popular with the Gallic contingent – like Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco – hit it harder than it had expected. But that wasn’t the only disappointment: apparently, we Brits’ hitherto-unshakable desire for summer sun in the exotic climes of Benidorm, the Costa Del Sol etc has taken an unexpected hit, too – again, more so than it expected. Which rather begs the question: is the fundamental problem that Thomas Cook is being buffeted by external factors beyond its control, or that its financial types are failing miserably to plan ahead?
TC management may well have had the same thought. This is not, as we mentioned before, the first time the company has issued a profits warning this year. The first time, the problem was UK spending; then it was an issue with planes that were driving up costs. But those at the top seem to have realised there’s something wrong: they’ve asked its UK arm to embark on a ‘fundamental strategic and operational review’.
The good news is, a spokeswoman has already assured staff that they don’t need to worry about their jobs: apparently, the review will instead look at a ‘wide range of operational issues’, including whether Thomas Cook offers the right holidays. Which, given the circumstances, could well mean fewer exotic boutique hotels in Morocco, and more cut-price self catering apartments in Los Christianos. Bad times.