Thomas Cook has confirmed it is currently “still working with” Collette despite the US touring specialist operator pledging to pull out of the UK next April.
Collette made its UK-based sales team redundant last week and announced it would have no “physical presence” in the UK marketplace beyond April 2020.
It follows the departure of UK managing director Carl Burrows and head of marketing Michelle Laverick in March last year, at which time Christian Leibl-Cote, Collette senior vice-president global business, said there had been a “strategic decision to restructure”.
Collette’s decision on Friday (March 8) came just days after its long-term partnership with Thomas Cook was due for renewal.
Cook announced in November 2013 it was outsourcing its escorted touring arm, Thomas Cook Tours, to Collette for all tours departing after March 1, 2014, on a minimum five-year term.
When approached by TTG this week, Phil Gardner, Thomas Cook sales and e-commerce director, said in a statement: “We continue to have a positive relationship with Collette and are currently working with their team.”
Of Collette’s withdrawal from the UK, Jeff Roy, Collette executive vice-president revenue management, said: “In order to focus on its expanding operations in the US, Canada and Australia, Collette has decided to no longer have a physical presence in the UK marketplace beyond April 30, 2020.
“Collette continues to accept new reservations for travel up to April 30, 2020, which will operate with full Atol and Abta protection.”
Roy added any existing Collette reservations would operate as booked. “Agents and guests can continue to travel and book with confidence.
“For travel by UK guests beyond April 2020, Collette is evaluating offering their global product line in the UK on a wholesale basis.”