We all read about the falling of the 178-year old Thomas Cook travel company. But few of us know that the company was started by a man, Thomas Cook, with a vision far ahead of its time in 1841.
Thomas Cook, a British was 33 years old then and he acutely felt that alcoholism was destroying the society. He believed that travel was the way out and he took some 500 people on a train journey to Loughborough, one shilling per head, for a temperance meeting, where they would take a vow to abstain from alcohol.
This was the first ever first publicly advertised rail excursion in history and this excursion is what led to the beginning of Thomas Cook & Son, an enterprise that had a glorious run for 178 years, right up till last week.
Ten years later, Cook gave the world its first complete package tour–a tour of continental Europe ending in Paris, accommodation and food included. In 1872, Thomas Cook & Son took its guests on a grand 222-day-long world tour that spanned over 46,671km.
And India’s connection with Thomas Cook began way back in 1880s where the British government of India appointed Thomas Cook & Son as the official travel agents for Hajj pilgrims to Mecca, Medina. The company also set up shop in Bombay and Calcutta, organising lavish tours for Indian princes to visit Queen Victoria during her Jubilee celebrations.
And apart from travel packages, lets not forget – it was Thomas cook which introduced the world to the concept of travellers cheque. Yes, a piece of world history just died last week.