Doomed travel agency in danger of stranding over 150,000 British tourists

A debt-laden, 178-year-old British travel agency asked the government to bail it out Saturday as it scrambles to secure enough cash to prevent it from collapsing and stranding vacationers around the world, including in the US.

Thomas Cook PLC, the UK’s oldest travel agent, was looking for a $250 million rescue package that it must secure by Sunday or it will go under, the BBC reported.

It raised about $1 billion, and was in talks with several stakeholders including the Chinese company Fosun, but needed an additional $250 million from somewhere else to seal the deal, according to the Associated Press.

The British government is hinting that it will not step in to bail out the company, but it would be on the hook for getting up to 150,000 UK residents home from their vacations. The country’s Civil Aviation Authority is on standby to get them home if needed, though most travelers will probably be protected through their travel insurance.

The company employs around 22,000 people and serves 19 million customers a year. In the US, it offers tours to New York, Orlando, Florida and Las Vegas.

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