Hundreds of Greek hoteliers said their businesses are at stake, following tour operator TUI’s decision to issue contract amendments this month which will delay payment for stays booked at Greek hotels this year.
According to a recent news report by the Financial Times, TUI’s contract amendments require hotel owners in Greece to wait until March 2021 for three-quarters of the money owed to them. The payments are usually made 60 days after departure dates.
As underlined by the Financial Times, the money owed to hoteliers amounts to several hundred thousand euros — “funds that are crucial to see them through the quiet winter season”.
TUI told the Financial Times that it had “made a significant amount of advance payments to hoteliers for summer 2020, a large percentage of which remains outstanding”.
The travel giant, which has been forced into a precarious position by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, said it had contacted “a small percentage” of hoteliers in Spain and Greece, two of its biggest markets, “to discuss payment plans and jointly review options”.
It is noted that TUI works with more than 2,000 hotels in Greece.
Theoharis: The ministry can’t intervene
On his part, Greek Tourism Minister Minister Harry Theoharis told the Financial Times that the government was “monitoring the situation closely”, adding that he hopes for Greece to secure additional EU support for its tourism industry.
The issue was brought to Greek Parliament by main opposition Syriza, urging the government to press TUI to reverse its decision.
Referring to the issue in parliament on Thursday, Theoharis said that the ministry can not intervene in private agreements.
“A minister can’t interfere in agreements between two companies,” the tourism minister said, underlining that the issue of payments to Greek hoteliers is raised at every opportunity in discussions with TUI.
Greece’s tourism revenue for 2020 is expected to not exceed 3.5 billion euros due to the impact of the pandemic. It is reminded that the country’s revenue from tourism reached 18 billion euros in 2019.