A new promotional campaign budgeted at 11 million euros to launch in January is just one of many emergency measures taken by the Greek government in the aftermath of Thomas Cook’s collapse last month.
Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis announced the news during a trade committee session in Athens on Thursday, adding that the funding will come from the country’s Public Investment Program and is aimed at addressing the damage left behind by Thomas Cook, which has thus far been estimated at 315 million euros.
Referring to the importance of immediate action towards recovering losses, Theoharis said “we can do this by increasing our country’s visibility and publicity as well as by implementing alternative synergies; by extending the tourist season, attracting visitors from higher income brackets and by changing our tourism model”.
The goal now, the minister said, is to recover all the lost pre-booked flight seats for 2020.
“In this direction, we are in open communication with the National Flight Coordination Authority, with airline representatives, the people at AEGEAN, Jet2, British Airways, EasyJet, and with the Deputy Infrastructure and Transport Minister Yiannis Kefalogiannis.”
Theoharis stressed that filling this gap was crucial.
“We learned a lesson from the collapse of Thomas Cook. That the reliance of our tourist product on a single customer involves great risks,” he said, adding that “the Greek tourism product, as a living organism, must evolve. And now is our chance to change our tourism strategy.”
Theoharis also referred to a series of emergency measures the government took after the collapse of Thomas Cook, which include the support of 4,500 fulltime jobs in tourism by the Manpower Employment Organization (OAED) budgeted at 31 million euros, social security contribution subsidies, employment benefits, and tax payment exemptions, among others.
At the same time, the Hellenic Development Bank (formerly ETEAN) is also preparing support measures, which include revised lending terms as well as the provision of interest-free loans and a grace period to enable cash flow.
To facilitate investment activity, the ministry said it was accelerating approval of investments submitted by affected companies.