Thomas Cook UK managing director Chris Mottershead gave the group’s shops a ringing endorsement yesterday at Abta’s Travel Convention.

Mottershead told the Convention in Abu Dhabi: “You’ve got to have all the elements to match where customers want to book. We have 800 shops and they are important. We have a strong website, we have shops and we have call centres.”

Cook announced the closure of 28 shops last week, and Mottershead said: “Inevitably, we review our retail sites and leases come to an end.

“Some of these shops were left over from a dim and distant past – there may be an old Pickford shop or a Going Places shop [among them]. We may have duplicate locations.

“But the shop is here to stay. We intend to open more shops in high-footfall, bustling areas.”

Ahead of the convention, Mottershead told Travel Weekly he has plans to open 25 shops over the next two years.

He told the Convention: “Technology changes and moves on, but it is just about access to the customer.

“Customers don’t remember the technology they used [to book], they remember the holiday experience.”