Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis on Wednesday released a statement, assuring that the government will stand by Greece’s’s tourism professionals that have been hit by the collapse of UK tour operator Thomas Cook.
“Let there be no doubt to the people of Greek tourism that in the coming hours and days the Greek government will be there to support the industry, which is, the largest sector of the Greek economy,” Minister Theoharis said.
“There are small- and medium-sized businesses that are supported and support Greek tourism. The government will support these people in an emphatic way,” he said.
The minister’s statement follows a Greek Economy Ministry decision that sees the Greek hotels – that have been impacted by the collapse of Thomas Cook – to be exempt from paying the stayover tax.
More measures are expected to follow.
The minister’s statement also included an update on the situation in Greece caused by Thomas Cook’s shutdown.
“From the morning on, the tourism ministry is in constant communication with the embassies of Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany,” the minister said, referring to the countries that are home to Thomas Cook subsidiaries and have been affected by the Group’s bankruptcy.
Moreover, Minister Theoharis informed that the repatriation process of foreign tourists/Thomas Cook customers that are stranded in Greece continues smoothly.
According to the minister, the number of stranded tourists in Greece since the announcement of Thomas Cook’s shutdown was estimated at around 55,000 (some 25,000 British tourists alone and some 30,000 tourists of various nationalities).
“Whatever problems arise, we look to resolve them as soon as possible. We have already sent instructions to the country’s regional tourism departments and they are informing the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels and the Hellenic Federation of Hoteliers, who then will pass on the information to their members,” the minister said.
“At this stage, the effects of the Thomas Cook phenomenon are more clear,” Minister Theoharis said.