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Thomas Cook demise could be modest plus for Europe cruise sourcing (updated*)

The collapse of Thomas Cook, one of the best-known brands in travel, could prove a modest near-term positive for entry-level European-sourced cruise demand, Wells Fargo Securities said.

The near-term disruption of tour and hotel operation could result in UK and continental European budget travelers seeking holiday options directly from stable operators, the brokerage said in a note.

Establishing a direct to consumer link

'As customers who utilized Thomas Cook to book cruise holidays now work directly with primary cruise operators to resolve administrative aspects of the Thomas Cook liquidation, cruise operators will likely gain the ability to establish a direct to consumer distribution link,' Wells Fargo said. This would enhance the lines' targeted marketing, cruise customization and yield management.

Carnival brands, MSC seen as beneficiaries

The shift would largely benefit Carnival Corp. & plc brands Costa, AIDA and P&O as well as MSC Cruises. However, Wells Fargo does not see sufficient overlap of targeted demographics or sourcing to materially benefit other primary cruise industry brands.

Wells Fargo rates Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings ‘outperform’ (buy).

* Update adds detail about the perceived benefits from direct bookings.