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Founded1965; 54 years ago (1965) (as Thomson)
18 October 2017; 19 months ago (18 October 2017) (as TUI UK)
FounderRoy Thomson[1]
HeadquartersLuton, England
Key people
Andrew Flintham (managing director)[2]
ProductsCharter and scheduled passenger airlines, package holidays, cruise lines, hotels and resorts
ServicesTravel agency
ParentTUI Group

TUI UK (formerly Thomson Holidays) is a UK-based travel operator and subsidiary of TUI Group.

The Thomson Travel Group was owned by the Thomson Corporation of Canada until it was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1998.[3] The headquarters of TUI UK is in Luton, England.[4]

Thomson Holidays started trading as TUI UK on 18 October 2017[5] and Thomson Cruises was rebranded as Marella Cruises.


A Thomson travel agency in Formby, Merseyside
A TUI Airways Boeing 737 arriving at Manchester, England in 2013

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, Luxitours, Gaytours 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 Bryan Llewellyn as TTO's 7th managing director,[6] 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 hit the TV headlines with 3 and 4 night holidays in Majorca for only £19. Its pricing strategy for products in the Canaries and Tunisia soon created growth in the winter sun market.[citation needed]

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, a small chain of agents which Thomas grew to become 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 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.[7] In 2000, TTG was acquired by Preussag AG, an industrial and transport conglomerate. Preussag was renamed TUI AG on 1 July 2002 and Thomson Travel became TUI UK. TUI UK (formerly Thomson Holidays), TUI Ski (formerly Thomson Ski) and TUI Lakes (formerly Thomson Lakes) and Britannia Airways (rebranded Thomsonfly, then Thomson Airways after the merger with First Choice Airways, and now TUI Airways) are subsidiaries of TUI AG.

They were sponsors of Tottenham Hotspur F.C. from 2002 to 2006.

In 1981, Thomson Holidays were the first recorded users of Business-to-Business online shopping.[8]

Thomson Founders' Club[edit]

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.[9]

Current brands[edit]

MS Thomson Celebration in Alanya, May 2011
  • TUI UK operates its own cruise line, Marella Cruises, that offers cruises around Europe and beyond with 5 ships in the fleet. It was known as Thomson Cruises until November 2017, when the ships were renamed.[10]
  • Crystal Ski is a sub-brand offering ski tourism packages.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Quick profit for Thomson fans The Times, Tuesday, 12 May 1998; pg. 29; Issue 66199
  4. ^ "Luton." Thomson UK. Retrieved 27 September 2009.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Thomson Holiday changes The Times, Tuesday, 24 June 1969; pg. 20; Issue 57594
  7. ^ SFA launches Thomson inquiry: Criticism prompts extension of perks for investors The Times, Saturday, 9 May 1998; pg. 27; Issue 66199
  8. ^ 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 [1]
  9. ^ Thomson Holidays – Thomson Founder's Club
  10. ^

External links[edit]