Thomson blow to Euro Disney

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THOMSON HOLIDAYS, Britain's third-largest tour operator with more than a third of the market, has dealt a body blow to the ailing Euro Disney by dropping its brochure for the company's resort on the outskirts of Paris for next year.

The 'Eurofun' brochure, which Thomson launched to coincide with the opening of Euro Disney in April last year, will not appear for the 1994 season. Instead Thomson will dedicate just four pages of the Citybreaks brochure it is launching next week.

Joanna Edmonds, the Thomson director in charge of holidays to the resort, said that Euro Disneyland had been a disappointment. 'The volume of business that we can generate is simply not enough to sustain its own brochure,' she said.

The blow comes just two weeks after British Airways said it would no longer be offering Euro Disneyland as part of its Cities range of short-break holidays. It said it had contracted to take 5,000 holidays a year but sold only a fifth of that.

The resort is losing an estimated pounds 4m a week and has cut staff levels from 19,000 to 16,000. Speculation is mounting that the Walt Disney Company, which owns 49 per cent of the French resort's shares, will write off up to pounds 300m of start-up costs in order to help Euro Disney into profit.

Thomson is not revealing how few holidays to the resort it is selling. But Euro Disney had hoped that Thomson would attract a substantial share of the 1.25 million visitors a year it had predicted would come from Britain.

Ms Edmonds said Thomson was reducing its commitment to Euro Disney despite securing some good deals for the 1994 season that reduced the cost of travelling to the resort.

Many people prefer to spend a little extra and travel to Euro Disneyland's rival, Disneyworld, in Orlando, Florida. This has continued to be popular despite the shooting of two British holidaymakers in northern Florida.