Thomas Cook expects to see queues outside its shops when it puts tickets for the 2012 Olympic Games on open sale next spring.
An official London 2012 partner, Thomas Cook will be the only company allowed to package and sell tickets in the UK. The deal also gives staff the chance to join in the games as volunteers or on secondment to the organisers.
Tickets for the Olympics, and Paralympics two weeks later, will be sold as part of more than 300,000 short-break packages. They cannot legally be offered for resale by another retailer or by a purchaser.
Most tickets for the Olympics will be available through the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and its website, london2012.com. That will offer ticket-only sales but select buyers by lottery from millions of applications.
The Thomas Cook short breaks will go to those first through the door, on the phone or online on the day and will include everything from the opening ceremony to the athletics finals.
The sales date has yet to be announced, but the only other tickets available will be for corporate hospitality, charged at a premium and sold through a single supplier.
Thomas Cook London 2012 partnership managing director Stephen Vaughan said: “We expect to be inundated. It’s a brilliant opportunity. We get to help fill the stadiums and get tickets to the regions. Thomas Cook will be the only place to guarantee a place at the Olympics.”
The company is seeking staff volunteers to participate and ‘pioneers’ to champion the Olympics internally.
Vaughan said staff could end up doing “anything from showing people to seats to handing Usain Bolt a towel”. Some will even join the relay carrying the Olympic torch before the start of the games.
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