Sarah Longbottom, Travel Weekly editorNews that the new Thomas Cook Group could cut up to 3,000 jobs as a result of the Thomas Cook/MyTravel merger has led to much finger-pointing this past week.

‘Outrageous’ and ‘disgraceful’ are just some of the words being bandied about.

I have every sympathy for anyone who loses their job: bills and mortgages don’t pay themselves. But I also regard this latest merger as an opportunity for those who remain at Thomas Cook Group to have a future.

The face of the industry has changed beyond recognition in the past few years and we can no longer pretend that the role of travel agents and tour operators can remain as it was 10 years ago.

Travellers are much too sophisticated to accept whatever package or deal is offered without question. Access to information and independent reviews means consumers can be more specific in their demands.

The major operators have already recognised they have to change the way they work. Many of the traditional ways of working for agents are fast becoming outmoded and costly.

The door is wide open for homeworkers, or agents based in an office who can also pay personal visits. Those offering their services from 8am to 8pm – via the phone, web and in person – could reap the rewards from cash-rich, time-poor customers.

Anyone who finds themself without a job with the big three – and soon to be two – this year could do worse than consider homeworking.

Those who remain can be sure their employers have considered the future and are confident these seismic changes will produce benefits in the long term.