4.1.13

Thomas Cook, the founder of mass tourism

"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 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. ...

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.

... 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.

... 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..."

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