Now this is a shame…. British tour company Thomas Cook shuts down

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The world’s oldest travel company, the British firm Thomas Cook, shut down on Monday, leaving 600,000 customers stranded abroad.

Thomas Cook started out in 1841 organizing local rail trips. It later pioneered European package vacations, and ran hotels, resorts, and airlines in 16 countries.

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Päivi (left) and Peter Lindström missed out on a holiday in Cyprus when Thomas Cook went bankrupt. Image: Yle

It collapsed after failing to strike a rescue deal with lenders as it struggled with $2.1 billion of debt.

The company has been hit hard by online competition and world events, including a 2018 Europe-wide heat wave that discouraged summer travel, and the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, a key destination. CEO Peter Fankhauser apologized to customers and employees. The British government is organizing flights to get travelers home in the U.K.’s biggest peacetime repatriation ever.

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