Norfolk Business Awards 2018

Thomas Cook supports 22,000 customers affected by Hurricane Irma in “challenging” month

PUBLISHED: 09:35 26 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:35 26 September 2017

Waves crash over a seawall from Biscayne Bay as Hurricane Irma passes by in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Waves crash over a seawall from Biscayne Bay as Hurricane Irma passes by in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Thomas Cook said it has provided support to 22,000 customers in destinations impacted by Hurricane Irma in what it called an “operationally challenging” month.

The travel giant said it was forced to evacuate thousands of customers in its worst hit resorts, The Cayos in Cuba, while it also had 10,000 customers in Florida and 4,500 in the Dominican Republic.

Around 15,500 of those customers affected were from the UK.

The group sent out a 66-strong special assistance team across Cuba and Orlando in Florida to provide support.

It is also offering alternative destinations to customers with bookings to resorts badly damaged by recent hurricanes, with those travelling to Cayo Coco or Cayo Guillermo in Cuba being offered free cancellation or amendments until the end of November.

Peter Fankhauser, chief executive of Thomas Cook, said: “The last month has been operationally challenging as our teams took care of the thousands of customers in the Caribbean and Florida impacted by Hurricane Irma.

“I am proud of how fast we acted in the wake of Irma to support our customers, and offer them alternative destinations for their winter sun.”

Details of its response to the hurricane came as it gave a trading update confirming that UK bookings rose 8% over the summer despite a highly competitive market in Spain – its biggest destination.

Total summer 2017 bookings were 11% higher across the group.

Its winter programme is 37% sold, with bookings 5% higher across the UK and prices up 3%.

The group added that strong demand in the UK and Northern Europe was helping drive a solid start to summer 2018.

Thomas Cook also announced another strategic partnership, with Swiss-based hotel property development company LMEY Investments, which has seen the group buy a 42% stake in Aldiana – a premium club and activity-focused tour operator and hotel management company based in Germany.

It follows the tie-up with Expedia earlier this month, which saw the US-based group become Thomas Cook’s preferred provider of hotels for city and domestic holidays.

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