When you think of a well-known “travel agency“, one of the first names that come to mind is Thomas Cook.
Born in 1808 in Melbourne, England (Derbyshire, not Australia) Thomas Cook as a missionary turned travel agent. He began his trade as the latter in 1841 he chartered a special train to carry passengers from Leicester to Loughborough for a temperance meeting. The success of the guided excursion led to the formation of a travel agency bearing his name. Cook organized personally conducted tours throughout Europe and procured traveling and hotel accommodations for tourists making independent trips. He also provided travel services, including the furnishing of supplies and personnel, for the British government on several occasions, notably the final expedition of the British general Charles George Gordon to the Sudan in 1884.
His idea to offer excursions came to him while waiting for the stagecoach on the London Road at Kibworth. With the opening of the extended Midland Counties Railway, he arranged to take a group of 570 temperance campaigners from Leicester to a rally in Loughborough, eleven miles away. On 5 July 1841, Thomas Cook arranged for the rail company to charge one shilling per person that included rail tickets and food for this train journey. Cook was paid a share of the fares actually charged to the passengers, as the railway tickets, being legal contracts between company and passenger, could not have been issued at his own price. During the following three summers he planned and conducted outings for temperance societies and Sunday-school children.
In 1844 the Midland Counties Railway Company agreed to make a permanent arrangement with him provided he found the passengers. This success led him to start his own business running rail excursions for pleasure, taking a percentage of the railway tickets.
Today, Thomas Cook is one of the largest Travel operators in Europe, covering not just tickets, tours, hotels and packages, but also travel money, insurance, carhire, and even weddings!
[tags]famous travelers,travel,travel agency, Thomas Cook[/tags]