By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
YESTERDAY was a very special day at the Balearic stand at the Fitur tourism fair in Madrid because Cosmos Holidays celebrated its 50th anniversary in style.

Having been in operation for some 50 years, Cosmos Holidays, which is part of the Monarch Group, is one of the oldest and best established brands in UK tour operating, and provides holidays to over 780'000 customers in 65 destinations annually.

Cosmos is the UK's largest independent tour operator. Cosmos Coach Tours remains the world's largest European coach tour operator with escorted coach touring programmes throughout Europe, North America and worldwide.

The Cosmos air and coach programmes offer a wide range of high quality products and great value holidays to both short and long haul destinations and yesterday afternoon the President of the Balearics, Francesc Antich and Tourism Minister, Joana Barcelo were presented with a large 50th Birthday cake in a special ceremony to celebrate Cosmos Holidays' landmark.

Cosmos Holidays is the Tour Operating division of the Monarch Travel Group which operates over four million sector seats in Spain annually.

The Group's MD of Tour Operations, Hugh Morgan, accompanied by Katy Sayburn, the Monarch Travel Group's Overseas Purchasing & Operations Director, presented the cake at Spain's premier trade show to thank the Balearics for its contribution to the tour operator's continued success in business.

Hugh Morgan said; “We are delighted to be here at Fitur in Spain to celebrate our special birthday with our close business partners in the country where the UK's package holiday industry started. Since sending the first UK holiday makers to Spain, back in the ‘60s', we have enjoyed strong working relationships with our industry partners to grow a mutually beneficial alliance. “It is fifty years since our shareholders set up a UK office and we still remain family-owned and the UK's largest independent tour operator – a great achievement for any travel company these days.” He added: “The UK's ‘love affair' with Spain continues and our group's recent restructure has given us a firm platform on which to strengthen our brands in the Spanish marketplace with increased flight capacity and accommodation to provide British holiday makers with the widest choice of fully-bonded great value holidays.” Having just run a joint advertising campaign with six Spanish regions in the UK trade media, Cosmos' 50th birthday activity in 2011 will be backed by a robust consumer advertising campaign which commenced on 3 January, highlighting to the British public the up to 50% discount messages and £50 low deposit and driving them to their local travel agent.

The Balearic government was as equally upbeat about the coming year,.
Antich told a press conference that this year will see the Balearic tourist industry “consolidate and grow” after two very difficult years caused by the global recession and the emergence of new and highly competitive destinations.

The President also revealed that Palma will be served by at least ten new routes from new holiday markets which will help to boost tourism figures and revenue.

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