Thomas Cook in Loughborough, central England Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Thomas Cook offices in the UAE say they are unaffected by the collapse of Thomas Cook in the UK because they are affiliated with the Indian branch of the 178-year-old company.

A spokesperson from Rostamani Travels told Gulf News, “We are not affected because we are affiliated with Thomas Cook India, which is a completely different entity.

“We are only indirectly affected by the collapse because customers keep calling to try and cancel their holidays, but we are having to explain that we are in no way affiliated with the collapse. Hopefully this [speaking to the press] will help clear this confusion,” the spokesperson added.

The official Thomas Cook office in Oud Mehta, which is owned by TravTips Travel and Tourism LLC, also confirmed it was “business as usual”, and confirmed that they were the official franchisee for Thomas Cook India in the UAE, while acknowledging that Rostamani Travels also sold Thomas Cook India packages.

A third office, Travel Incorporated also confirmed they were affiliated with Thomas Cook India and were therefore not affected by the UK closure.

All offices referred us to a statement from Madhavan Menon, the chairman and managing director of Thomas Cook (India) Ltd, which read, “With the recent developments relating to the iconic British Travel Company, Thomas Cook PLC, being reported in the media, it is imperative to highlight that Thomas Cook India Group is a completely different entity since August 2012 when it was acquired by Fairfax Financial Holdings (Fairfax), a Canada-based multinational firm with varied interests across the globe as well as in India.

“Post transfer of its entire stake in Thomas Cook (India) Limited to Fairfax, Thomas Cook UK ceased to be the promoter of Thomas Cook (India) Limited from the said date and since then Thomas Cook UK has had no stake in Thomas Cook (India) Limited. The last seven years have been fruitful as we continue to grow and build our legacy as an independent entity after Fairfax Financial Holdings acquired a 77 per cent stake in Thomas Cook India Ltd. (TCIL) in 2012.”

There is however one hotel in Ras Al Khaimah, the Ras Al Khaimah Beach Resort, owned by the Bin Majid Group, which was in partnership with Thomas Cook UK. When Gulf News contacted the hotel manager, he said, "Until now we don't have any news. Everything just broke yesterday, so there is no information, we are just exploring."

Asked if customers had been stranded or affected, the manager added, "There are no charter flights from Thomas Cook out here to the UAE, so we are not impacted in that way."

But with regards to the partnership Bin Majid had with Thomas Cook, the manager said, "We are just waiting to see what happens. The hotel is owned and managed by Bin Majid Group, so staff are unaffected."         

Meanwhile, UAE residents who have used Thomas Cook India tour packages received the company’s statement distancing itself from the UK company’s collapse.

Rajesh Ravindran, an IT manager in Dubai, said he was among the customers who received the mail.

“I was not aware that the UK and India branches of Thomas Cook are two different entities," he said. "I just knew Thomas Cook as the global brand. In our experience, they have offered the best professional service among all the tour packages that my wife and I have taken so far.

"During our holiday in Europe, they even rescheduled our trip to the Eiffel Tower for another day as it was closed when a man climbed the tower with a backpack on the day we were supposed to go up the tower in 2015. They could have just cancelled it if they wished to. Anyhow, it is sad that a global brand that originated in the UK has collapsed.”