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Greece’s Thomas Cook Repatriation Operation in Full Swing

Heraklion Airport, Crete

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The repatriation process of some 50,000 tourists stranded at 13 Greek destinations after UK tour operator Thomas Cook went into sudden administration last week, should be completed in the next few days, Greece’s Deputy Tourism Minister Manos Konsolas said this week.

Speaking in parliament, Konsolas confirmed that the government’s repatriation operation was proceeding “smoothly and without problems”, noting that it was vital affected travelers “leave with the best impressions of Greece, as they may be potential visitors in the future”.

Konsolas went on to add that in the days ahead the employment and economy ministries would be announcing further relief measures for employees and businesses impacted by the UK travel giant’s collapse which left thousands stranded across the globe.

Deputy Tourism Minister Manos Konsolas

Besides the measures announced on Monday, Konsolas said that a joint advertising deal with Thomas Cook budgeted at 1,426,000 euros had been terminated.

He also said the tourism ministry would be meeting with systemic banks to introduce new terms for the repayment of loans.

Konsolas admitted that the “situation is not simple; Thomas Cook’s bankruptcy will have a negative impact on Greek tourism in terms of revenue for 2019. The data will be finalized by the Bank of Greece at the end of the year”.

He went on to stress that the ministry’s priority is to ensure that tourism performance in 2020 is not impacted. In this direction, the ministry is preparing new promotional and advertising campaigns.

Meanwhile, he said, the country’s Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasts (ITEP) will soon be releasing the results of an assessment study of the damage to local businesses, after which the government will announce additional support actions.

“The ministry, together with the Greek Tourism Organization are studying a plan for the rest of the year so that next year we are ready to deal with a potential crisis immediately,” Konsolas said.

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