26 Nov 2010

Thomas Cook to enter tourist market in Russia

11:07 am on 26 November 2010

Thomas Cook is set to enter the fast-growing tourist market in Russia where the UK operator has agreed to create a joint venture with Intourist.

Thomas Cook will take a stake of 50.1% and pay $US45 million (£29 million) in cash and shares.

Intourist was a monopoly operator in the Soviet travel market. It was privatised in the early 1990s.

Beach holidays in Turkey and Egypt are in big demand among Russians, and Thomas Cook said it hoped to capitalise on this.

In a statement, the company said the joint venture will include Intourist's outbound, domestic and inbound tour operating operations, as well as its retail travel network.

The BBC reports the deal does not include Intourist's hotels division.

Thomas Cook added: "Over six million Russians went on overseas packaged holidays last year and the market is expected to grow by a double-digit percentage in the coming years."