Thomson Holidays is a UK-based travel operator and part of TUI Travel PLC.
The company (originally named Thomson Tour Operations (TTO), and renamed in 1997) was founded as part of the Thomson Travel Group in 1965 following the acquisition of four tour operators, Skytours, Riviera, Gaytours and Luxitours and the airline Britannia Airways by Roy Thomson.
Intense competition continued between the four acquired operators which allowed the rival Clarksons Travel Group to become the lead player in the new and rapidly expanding UK package holiday market, while Thomson initially lacked any effective strategy to fight back. But in 1971, following the appointment of Brian Llewellyn as TTO's 7th Managing Director, a whole new Board of Directors was created, with the travel trade veteran Norman Corkhill as company chairman. A clear strategy was now implemented, as part of which the businesses were re-branded and re-launched under a single name as "Thomson Holidays".
Thomson Holidays soon hit the TV headlines with 3 and 4 night holidays in Majorca for only £19. Its similar keenly priced products in the Canaries and Tunisia soon created spectacular growth in the winter sun market.
Clarksons were forced to stop trading under the intense marketing pressure, followed a few years later by Horizon Holidays.
Other new products followed in rapid succession, Cruising with SS Ithaca; Lakes, Mountains and Fjords; Villas and Apartments and Wintersports, City Breaks. The combined success of the re-branding, new products, real-time reservations, strong quality assurance and keen prices enabled Thomson Holidays to dominate the UK package holiday market for 25 years.
In 1972 Thomson acquired Lunn Poly, the largest chain of travel agents in the United Kingdom. The name Lunn Poly was kept until 2004, when the owners rebranded the highstreet outlets as Thomson Holidays in order to create a "powerbrand". The company had insisted that there were no plans to rebrand Lunn Poly, but the name is no longer used by the group. In recent years Thomson Holidays have been taking more of their business via the web, but they retain a big share of the high street travel agency business.
Thomson Travel Group was floated on the London Stock Exchange in May 1998 with a valuation of £1.7 billion. In 2000, TTG was acquired by Preussag AG, an industrial and transportation conglomerate. Preussag was renamed TUI AG on July 1, 2002 and Thomson Travel became TUI UK. Thomson Holidays, Thomson Ski and Thomson Lakes and Britannia Airways (rebranded Thomsonfly, now Thomson Airways after the merger with First Choice Airways) are now subsidiaries of that group, part of TUI Travel PLC.
They were sponsors of Tottenham Hotspur F.C. from 2002-2006.
Thomson Founders' Club
When TTG was floated in 1998, new shareholders were given membership in the "Thomson Founders' Club" which offered a 10% discount on Thomson holidays. Membership was conditional on retaining a minimum of 294 shares, but when TTG was acquired by Preussag membership of the Founders' Club was made permanent and unconditional. However, on 31 January 2008 the Club was abolished without notice or compensation.
Thomson Holidays also operates its own cruise line, Thomson Cruises, that offers low-price cruises around Europe with ships from Louis Cruise Lines and Holland America Line. The company had initially entered the cruise market in 1973, but due to rising fuel costs the venture was terminated in 1976. In 1995, Thomson restarted their cruise line after their competitor Airtours had made a successful entry in the cruise business under their Sun Cruises brand. Thomson Cruises holds approximately a 1% market share of the worldwide cruise industry.
MS Island Escape was be added to the Thomson fleet in April 2009, as a result of parent company TUI's acquisition of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s share in Island Cruises that took place in 2008. As of March 2013, Thomson operates the Island Escape under its all-inclusive Island Cruises brand.
|Gross tonnage||Flag||Current Home Port||Notes|
|Thomson Spirit||1983||Chantiers de l'Atlantique||2003||33,930 tons||Malta||Limassol, Cyprus Until end of April 2013||Previously Nieuw Amsterdam, Patriot, Spirit|
|Thomson Celebration||1984||Chantiers de l'Atlantique||2005||33,960 tons||Malta||Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt||Previously Noordam|
|Thomson Dream||1986||Meyer Werft||2010||54,763 tons||Malta||Bridgetown, Barbados - Starting 12/12||Previously Homeric, Westerdam, Costa Europa|
|Thomson Majesty||1992||Kvaerner Masa-Yards||2012||40,876 tons||Malta||Gran Canaria, Canary Islands||Previously Royal Majesty, Norwegian Majesty, Louis Majesty|
Island Cruises Brand
|Gross tonnage||Flag||Current Home Port||Notes|
|Island Escape||1982||Dubigeon-Normandie S.A||2009||40,132 tons||Bahamas||Palma De Mallorca, Spain Until end of October 2013||Previously Scandinavia, Stardancer, Viking Serenade|
- SS Ithaca (1973–1976) - scrapped 2003
- SS Calypso (1975–1976) - scrapped 2004
- SS Island Breeze (1996–1998) - scrapped 2003
- MS Sapphire (1996–2002) - scrapped 2012
- SS The Topaz (1997–2003) - scrapped 2008
- SS The Emerald (1997–2008) - scrapped 2012
- The Calypso (2006–2009) - scrapped 2013
- Thomson Destiny (2005–2012) - Since 2012 for Louis Cruise Lines as Louis Olympia
- Quick profit for Thomson fans The Times, Tuesday, 12 May 1998; pg. 29; Issue 66199
- "Luton." Thomson UK. Retrieved on 27 September 2009.
- Thomson Holiday changes The Times, Tuesday, 24 June 1969; pg. 20; Issue 57594
- SFA launches Thomson inquiry: Criticism prompts extension of perks for investors The Times, Saturday, 9 May 1998; pg. 27; Issue 66199
- 1988 Palmer C Using IT for Competitive Advantage at Thomson Holidays Long Range Planning Vol 21 p26-29 Institute of Strategic Studies Journal, London Pergamon Press [now Elsevier B.V.] December 1988. Original story at 
- Thomson Holidays - Thomson Founder's Club
- "2012 World Wide Market Share". Cruise Market Watch. 2011-11-20.
- "Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to Sell Its Interest in Island Cruises to First Choice Holidays Ltd.". Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. 2008-10-06. Retrieved 2008-10-07.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Thomson Cruises.|
- Thomson Holidays
- Thomson Holidays at YouTube
- Thomson Ski
- Thomson Lakes
- TUI AG
- Thomson Tailor made Holidays