By Courtney Trenwith
Dubai’s Emirates Group has bought part of UK travel company as it builds its own global travel agency business
Emirates Group’s aviation ground services company dnata has bought part of well-known British travel company Thomas Cook for $74m.
The acquisition includes Gold Medal Travel Group, its online travel agent netflights.com and high-end travel brand Pure Luxury and will help boost the Dubai-based company’s global travel agency business.
Saudi travel group Al Tayyer also bought Thomas Cook’s luxury tour provider Elegant Resorts for $23.5m.
The 173-year-old Thomas Cook, a London-listed travel agent, is seeking to sell off assets as it reduces continued losses amid the economic crisis, Arab Spring and high fuel costs.
Based in Preston, UK, Gold Medal Travel Group handles more than 275,000 travel bookings a year and is one of the largest tour operators to Dubai.
Dnata said in a statement the combined experience of the two organisations in the UAE would strengthen their inbound travel services and support continued tourism growth in the Gulf state.
"Dnata’s growth strategy aligns well with Gold Medal Travel Group — its comprehensive travel services complement dnata’s established international travel offering, and will further enhance the proposition we offer our customers be it to trade, corporates or individuals,” Iain Andrew, divisional senior vice president of dnata’s travel business.
“Gold Medal Travel Group is a successful company, with strong products supported by an excellent management team, and a compelling business strategy.
Gold Medal Travel Group will continue as the exclusive provider of scheduled air travel and car rental products to Thomas Cook UK.
The company said the acquisition came into effect on Tuesday with no interruption to services.
The business would continue operating under the Gold Medal Travel Group branding.
Dnata is part of the Dubai-based Emirates Group, which has more than 50 businesses in the aviation and travel industries, including Emirates Airline.