Thomas Cook has just launched its largest multimedia campaign yet, as it spearheads calls for the UK government to support the tourist industry in all sectors – including both domestic and international tourism.
Speaking at the launch of a new, heavily-funded Facebook competition designed to cement Thomas Cook’s position as the number one travel agent in the minds of British travelers, Chief Executive Ian Ailles called upon the government to do more to support international travel.
Ailles comments come just one day after the UK government announced a new £4 million drive called “Visit England”, to bolster UK tourism:
“Having two formidable players talking about travel at the same time of year can only mean good things for the industry, encouraging people to book holidays now, whether it is an overseas break or a UK one. UK holidays are part of our heritage, with the first excursion from Leicester to Loughborough organised by Thomas Cook in 1841.”
“Today, we are the UK’s largest retailer of domestic holidays and sell over one million UK breaks every year, as well as being the official provider of short breaks to the London 2012 Olympic Games and providing more trips to UK sports events than anyone else.”
Ailles went on to point out that Thomas Cooks’ chief motivation was to provide its customers with a holiday that is right for them – whether that’s in the UK or abroad. He added he would like to see the government acknowledge that outbound tourism carries the same importance as the domestic tourism sector does to the country’s economy.
It’s worth pointing out that Thomas Cook is indeed doing its bit for UK tourism. As Travel Weekly first reported, the company is currently running a number of promotions as part of the Visit England campaign, including a 12% on the price of accommodation for 20 weeks this year, and a 20.12% discount on weekend breaks to see Premier League football matches at the start of the 2012/2013 season in August.
However, the company believes that the UK government’s policy of focusing only on domestic tourism is detrimental to the industry, and has been joined by the likes of Virgin Holidays, Tui UK and Abta in voicing its discord.
Thomas Cook’s point is backed up by research – according to surveys carried about by the company, an overseas holiday is still priority number one for almost one third of Brits
As such, the UK’s leading travel agency is fighting back with the biggest ad campaign in its history to ensure that international travel gets its share of the pie this summer. The campaign, themed “It Is A Wonderful World. Explore It With Us” is set to blitz the full shebang of media channels, including TV, radio, cinema, social media, internet and inside its travel agencies, promoting both UK and international destinations in equal measure.
Facebook will spearhead the social media campaign, as Thomas Cook runs what it hopes to be its biggest ever competition on the popular social network, as it searches for an individual whose exploring spirit matches that of the company’s founder.
Phil Aird-Mash, Co-Chief Executive of Thomas Cook, admitted the campaign was “unprecedented” for a travel agency, but said that was exactly why they were going ahead with it.
“It means we’ll really stand out and our voice will be clearly heard,” he explained.