Thomas Cook, the founder of mass tourism

Last name Cook, as evidenced by history, is virtually synonymous with the word traveler. The famous explorer James Cook traveled all over the Pacific, crossed the Antarctic Circle, and was allegedly killed by indigenous people. Frederick Cook was one of the first people to reach the North Pole. Thomas Cook invented travel and became the founder of modern mass tourism.

Thomas Cook was born On November 22, 1808 in a small English town Melbourne in a farmer's family. He began working early, obtained church education, and, thanks to his exemplary self-discipline, almost single-handedly created a new branch of the global economy.

He lost his father early and started working as a gardener, then mastered the printing craft and became a skilled carpenter. His stepfather, James Smithard, got him to a school at a convent. Cook was expected to advance in church career, and in February of 1826, Thomas Cook was baptized in a Baptist church. Two years later, he became a Baptist preacher and one of the most active members of the local sobriety society.

His works were published in sectarian journals, and he was very enthusiastic in his anti-alcohol activities. His thirst for missionary activity, which may have been the flip side of his passion for travel, made him actively move around the country.

The diary of Thomas Cook mentioned that in 1829 alone he traveled 2,692 miles as a missionary, 2,106 of which on foot. However, the profitability of these activities was low. The funds were traditionally replenished by contributions from the faithful, and in 1830, the funds of Loughborough Baptist Association , where Thomas Cook operated, dried up. Cook had to say good bye to the travels funded by his organization. Cook was forced to turn to his old Christian occupation, renting a studio and taking up carpentry.

He continued to preach in 1840, when a railway line was built nearby. Cook met with the head of the company that owned the Midland Railway and arranged a lease for a train to travel to a nearby town with his anti-alcohol campaign. On July 5, 1841 to the sound of the orchestra and the cheers of the crowd, 570 people left for Loughborough located 12 miles from the border of London. This day is considered the date of the first tour.

"I had the honor of leading the first public railway tour in the history of England," Cook wrote in his diary. The PR-campaign was successful, and soon Thomas organized several budget tours that cost a shilling for adults and 6 pence for a child. These prices were affordable even for the English poor. Then there was a trip of three thousand students of Sunday schools from Leicester to Derby.

By that time all the main factors for creation of the travel industry in England were in place. In the 1840s, trade unions managed to negotiate an annual leave for the millions-strong army of employees. A new form of transportation - railways - was actively developing. The trains were in desperate need of passengers. The tourism industry was waiting to be discovered and the man who did it was Thomas Cook.

Gradually, clientele for short day trips grew, and Cook signed a contract with the railways for "regular delivery of passengers." He started putting into practice the slogan he coined "Railways are for millions". He received discounts for mass transit from railways, which helped him to reduce the cost of increasingly more popular and accessible organized travel even further.

Cook thoroughly prepared for each of his voyages. He tried out every route, negotiated with hotels and taverns, learned everything about points of interest, meticulously studied the specifics of local life, and later described them in detail in his guide books. Cook is considered the inventor of guidebooks, hotel coupons that guarantee a certain room at a fixed price, as well as travelers' checks.

Later, he came up with his greatest ideas that are still generating profits for modern tourism. In 1846, Cook prepared a route for many fans of Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns, and began earning on a "fairy tale for adults."

He then offered British Lords to open their castles and parks for sightseeing, which was another great idea to make money out of air.

Finally, he returned to his favorite subject, religious travel, and made pilgrimage a business concept. In December of 1868 "Cook and Son" invited the British to the Holy Land. As expected, Cook organized the trip with all thoroughness. 60 pilgrims were traveling in a caravan of 65 riding horses and 87 pack horses and a huge squad of donkeys and mules. The entire "train" was guarded by 77 soldiers from "Cook and Son", armed with carbines.

Not surprisingly, the clients of the firm included even ladies of the royal families of Europe. Cook's business became truly international when his institutional capabilities were put to the service of the British Crown that had possessions in all parts of the world.

Thomas Cook died at the age of 84, passing the company to his son, who helped the Europeans to discover the New World, and the Americans - the Old.. In 1919, for the first time in history of tourism, tour operator "Thomas Cook" used aircraft to transport tourists. As of today, this is one of the largest travel companies and brands in the world.

Vladimir Shabanov.

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov