Founded in 1965 with the aim of making continental holidays available to all (at a time when many families made do with trips to the British seaside as their summer getaway), Thomson quickly grew to become one of the UK’s leading travel agents – and remain so almost 50 years on.
Now owned by the TUI Travel group – who were also responsible for the administration of First Choice holidays before that particular business was merged with their main operations – the company is estimated to earn annual revenues of £15 billion, employing around 54,000 workers worldwide.
Along with main high street competitors Thomas Cook, Thomson has been heavily affected by the rise of budget online travel agents such as IceLolly.com as consumers look at methods of saving money following the credit crunch. Although the company are unable to match many of the ultra-low-cost deals available through rivals online, they have retained custom by having the highest number of exclusive destinations in the industry – with around 75% of all Thomson holidays unavailable elsewhere.
In addition to more traditional holidays, Thomson restarted their own-branded range of cruise trips in 2005. Under the name Thomson Cruises, the company are currently responsible for an estimated 1% of the worldwide cruising industry and have their own fleet of 4 cruise liners. Parent company TUI also own a number of different airlines (under the names Thomson Airways, TUIFly and Jetairfly), through which they provide most of the air travel for Thomson customers.