Thomson phased out in tourism rebrand

Soon to disappear Thomson and First Choice brochures
Soon to disappear Thomson and First Choice brochures

One of the UK’s best known travel brands is set to disappear after owner TUI confirmed plans to use a single brand to promote its holidays.

The Thomson name, which dates back to 1965, will be ditched along with First Choice as part of a transition expected to take up to three years.

Thomson and First Choice catered for 5.2 million holidaymakers last year, with the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands and Greece the most popular destinations.

The consolidation behind the TUI brand comes after TUI Travel in the UK merged with its German parent company TUI AG to create a business with more than 300 hotels, 136 planes and 1,800 shops across Europe selling holidays to 30 million customers in 180 countries.

Joint CEO Peter Long said the firm would begin phasing out other European regional brands in the Netherlands and France before moving on to First Choice and Thomson as the last brands to go.

“These will be the last to be rebranded because of their size. It will give us time to learn as we go. The move is aimed at strengthening our position in our markets.”

The Thomson brand was established in 1965 by Canadian media baron Roy Thomson.

TUI Group said it narrowed half-year losses, adding that it was putting its UK hotel booking website LateRooms up for sale. It said it planned to exit the site by the end of financial year without giving further details.

The group’s losses narrowed to g272.6m (£195.5m) in the six months to the end of March, from g341.4m (£244.8m) a year ago, in its traditionally weaker winter period.