The losses for Greek tourism enterprises from Thomas Cook’s bankruptcy could exceed 500 million euros in the long run, according to an estimation given by Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis on Tuesday.
The statement comes following Thomas Cook’s announcement on Monday that it was entering into compulsory liquidation with immediate effect.
Speaking to Greek radio station Thema 104,6, the minister underlined that some Greek businesses have signed seven-year contracts with the UK tour operator.
“We are trying to find the immediate cost that will cause problems because in the long run you can deal with the problems,” the minister said.
Following the travel giant’s collapse, the Tourism Ministry is focusing on ways to support affected businesses and repatriate tourists that have been stranded in Greece.
“We are in contact with airlines on routes and will focus our promotional efforts on markets and cities that have been affected by this incident,” the minister said, underlining that in the long run “we need to see how to regain market share”.
According to the minister, the Greek destinations most affected by Thomas Cook’s bankruptcy, include Zakynthos, Corfu, Skiathos, Crete and Kos. The majority of stranded tourists are from
It should be noted that not long before Thomas Cook’s collapse, the tourism ministry had already cancelled a 1.4 million euro co-advertising program that had been running since the beginning of the year with the tour operator. According to reports, the ministry managed to save 1.1 million euros.
SETE calls for support measures
On its part, the Greek Tourism Confederation has called on the tourism and finance ministries to adopt immediate measures to support Greek businesses.
Among other things, SETE has proposed for Greek businesses to be exempt from paying the VAT charged on unpaid invoices from Thomas Cook.
The confederation has also suggested for tourists that are staying in Greek hotels through Thomas Cook packages to not be obliged to pay the stayover tax for the period from September 23 until their scheduled departure.
Greece ranked third among the top five destinations of Thomas Cook for 2019, with Crete its biggest destination in the country, followed by Rhodes and Kos.
Last year, Thomas Cook brought some three million tourists to Greece. It operated around 50 hotels in the country running under eight of the company’s brands, including the renowned “Casa Cook” and “Cook’s Club” brands.
Information for Thomas Cook customers
A dedicated support service is being provided by the CAA to assist customers currently overseas and those in the UK with future bookings.
Guidance for customers departing from Greece can be found here.