Thomas Cook is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of its founder with the launch of a tour retracing itineraries created 150 years ago.

Thomas Cook was born on November 22 1808. To commemorate the milestone the operator has created a 15-day luxury trip taking in destinations considered a must-see by the Victorians, including ­Monaco, Florence, Rome and Tuscany.

Thomas Cook company ­archivist Paul Smith said the innovator of the modern package holiday, who not only took the first tour group to Egypt in 1869, but also launched the first world tour in 1872, would still see opportunities even in today’s tough market.

He said: “Thomas Cook was all about encouraging people to travel to make the world a better place. He perceived that if Britons went to the Continent and met French, Italian and German people, then they would better understand their cultures.

“The package holiday was the cheapest and most sophisticated way of travelling. Thomas Cook wanted people to travel and the package holiday was the ideal way of doing it.”

As well as the new tour, a logo has been developed to highlight the anniversary. A Thomas Cook spokesperson added there will be additional external celebrations in January and February, although the core celebrations will be internal.

Thomas Cook chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa added: “Thomas Cook once ­described himself as ‘the willing and devoted servant of the travelling public’, and I believe that today we maintain many of his original ideas and ­inspirations by keeping the customer at the heart of everything we do.

“Even with his ambition and foresight, he would never have dreamt the company would still be proudly carrying his name 200 years after his birth.”