More than 30K tourists evacuated from Greece after Thomas Cook collapse

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
More than 30K tourists evacuated from Greece after Thomas Cook collapseThomas Cook-related losses could rise up to €500-600 million

The overnight demise of the British travel agency Thomas Cook, one of the world’s oldest, stranded hundreds of thousands of tourists worldwide, including 50,000 in Greece and could bring losses of  500 million euros ($549.87 million,) the head of the country’s tourism confederation SETE said, according to thenationalherald.com.

Some 14,000 holiday-makers were evacuated from the country as of Monday, with some 50,000 Thomas Cook customers essentially stranded, at least for a few days, after its sudden bankruptcy, naftemporiki.gr reports.

Another 16,500 holiday-makers will be evacuated today from around Greece, mainly from Crete, Corfu and Zakynthos.

Thomas Cook annually accounted for nearly three million tourists coming to Greece every year, while operating nine hotels directly and another 39 on a franchise basis. Its commercial ties with other hotels and resorts in Greece numbered into the hundreds.

Greece has been on a record run of tourism seasons but many hotels, especially those on popular islands, rely on package bookings from Thomas Cook, including those that aren’t prepaid, causing hoteliers to fear devastating losses although the agency’s collapse came after the peak summer period ended.

SETE President Andreas Andreadis said Greek businesses need to be protected from the aftermath even as British authorities were scrambling to have flights repatriate citizens in the biggest operation of its kind since the end of World War II.

In a tweet, he said those should include an exemption from the payment of the overnight tax for Thomas Cook tourists and a lowering of the Value Added Tax (VAT) rate for tourist packages, said Kathimerini. “The government must realize the magnitude of the problem and take immediate decisions for support, to avoid the expected domino effect,” he said.

“Our tourism has never faced such a mega-bankruptcy until today. It is a difficult case, with huge costs and many consequences that require calmness and good cooperation from all sides.”

Andreadis also called on everyone working in the tourism industry to treat stranded tourists with “respect and generosity,” during the turmoil which has brought much consternation.

Greek Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis said extra flights were being booked to get the tourists back home, many from the United Kingdom but the most from Germany.  Officials said the tourists, mostly British, were on the islands of Zakynthos, Kos, Corfu, Skiathos and Crete, hitting an industry accounting for about a quarter of Greek economic output, said Reuters.

Thomas Cook ran hotels, resorts and airlines for 19 million people a year in 16 countries but its executives face a grilling in the UK about how it ended so suddenly and without warning to people who had booked packages on its own planes.

“There has been a rescue plan, a plan of repatriation currently underway,” Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis told Reuters. “We are supporting as much as we can,” he said, adding that the Greek authorities had a contingency plan.

“Extra flights have been booked at Greek airports and already the first 15 have come to ensure those people go back smoothly to their homeland. Also, the cost of their stay for the rest of their holidays is being covered,” Theoharis said.

ECONOMIC EARTHQUAKE

About 22,000 tourists were expected to return home at the end of their holidays, with the rest returning after seven to 10 days, he said. The head of Greece’s hotel federation said it’s a severe economic blow to them. “The situation is quite difficult. It does not affect just British tourists but other nationalities as well,” Grigoris Tassios told state television.

Many hotels were expected to take losses on payments affecting vacation packages for the last two months, meaning “many millions of euros,” he said. “Up to October 15, there are high occupancies, we will suffer losses from this segment, too.”

He said hotel companies would turn to the courts to try and recover money owed by Thomas Cook. “This is an earthquake on a scale of seven, now we are waiting for the tsunami,” Michalis Vlatakis, President of the Association of Travel Agents of Crete, told the Athens News Agency.

Thomas Cook was struggling with debts approaching £2 billion ($2.49 billion,) forcing it to enter negotiations with shareholders and creditors that came at least £200 million ($249.06 short of what was needed to keep the company running, the New York Times reported.

Before the collapse, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government would not intervene to save the airline, adding that doing so would create a “moral hazard” because the possibility of a government bailout could encourage other companies to take risks, the paper added.

In August, with China’s presence rising in Greece, the Chinese investment company Fosun said it planned to build a Mediterranean tourist market for Chinese visitors, through Greece, after agreeing to buy 75 percent of Thomas Cook’s tour operations and 25 percent of its airline business for 450 million pounds ($560.15 million.)

The group’s creditors – banks and bondholders – said they would put up a similar amount to buy 25 percent of the tour business and 75 percent of the airline business with Fosun seeing a potential bonanza for China’s growing interest in Greece and the European Union but there was no report what happened to prevent the agency’s collapse.

Read more at thenationalherald.com

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinationsGreek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

 

Tornos
  1. 24/01 23:35

    U.S. Ambassador for religious freedom visits Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

  2. 24/01 23:31

    Greek parliament to vote on Defense Cooperation Agreement with the US

  3. 24/01 23:22

    Foreign Minister: Greece and Saudi Arabia agree Turkey-Libya accords are void

  4. 24/01 23:15

    Tiger Lillies “30th Anniversary Tour” in Greek cities of Athens and Thessaloniki

  5. 24/01 23:06

    Stavros Niarxos Foundation grants aim to revert Brain Drain in Greece

  6. 24/01 23:01

    New re-enforced proportional electoral system passes in Greek parliament

  7. 24/01 22:50

    Contract for Piraeus Port Cruise Pier to be signed in the following weeks

  8. 24/01 21:52

    Davos feedback: Foreign investors now view Greece differently

  9. 24/01 20:39

    Greek government eyes €100-billion investments in the next 7-8 years

  10. 24/01 16:57

    Ambassador: 2020 will be a year of significant US investment in Greece

  11. 24/01 14:06

    Athens Fashion Film Festival 2020 in Gazi Technopolis on February 14-16

  12. 23/01 23:05

    Greek President Pavlopoulos visits Israel to honour Holocaust victims

  13. 23/01 22:57

    Third Greek tennis star progresses to third round at Australian Open

  14. 23/01 22:52

    Brexit is official: Queen gives consent for UK to leave EU on January 31

  15. 23/01 22:35

    Minister Theoharis: Greek tourism to grow despite Thomas Cook collapse

  16. 23/01 22:16

    First Byzantine Monastery on Iberian peninsula found in Spain

  17. 23/01 22:10

    Cyprus President Anastasiades attends 5th Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem

  18. 23/01 20:53

    Surprise discovery of Late Roman era skeletons and robbers baffle researchers of ancient Pafos Agora

  19. 23/01 20:14

    Thessaloniki Tourism Organisation promotes wonderful city in Northern Greece

  20. 23/01 20:06

    Greek state privatization fund: DEPA Commercial appeals to several candidates

  21. 23/01 20:01

    US Secretary of State: Greece a key ally and crucial player in Eastern Med

  22. 23/01 19:50

    Greek Shipowners President: Maritime labour unions need to change

  23. 23/01 19:41

    Medical Tourism: Breakthrough discovery could cure all forms of cancer

  24. 23/01 15:17

    Greek tennis stars Sakkaris and Tsitsipas advance to third round of Australian Open

  25. 23/01 15:14

    President: The Greek State is on the side of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem

  26. 23/01 15:09

    Greek government plans for a 15-year bond issue next week

  27. 23/01 15:06

    New electoral law introduced to Parliament Plenum in Greece

  28. 23/01 14:58

    Greece wins legal battle against top-selling Japanese yogurt claiming to be ”Greek”

  29. 23/01 14:48

    Infographic: New York tops list of U.S. cities with most homeless people

  30. 23/01 12:53

    Prime Minister: Undertaken reforms ensure investment-friendly environment in Greece

  31. 23/01 10:40

    Europe's largest robotics festival Robotex to take place in Athens on April 4-5

  32. 22/01 23:41

    Greek products offered great trade deal with Vietnam under new EU Agreement

  33. 22/01 23:37

    Global Tourism Plastics Iniative tackles one of the worst polluters

  34. 22/01 23:32

    IATA monitors developments on Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan of China

  35. 22/01 23:27

    US State Department calls on Turkey to cease drilling in Cypriot waters

  36. 22/01 23:26

    King of Spain signals strong support for UNWTO's sustainable tourism goals

  37. 22/01 23:20

    Greek PM to meet top investors and managers at Davos Forum

  38. 22/01 23:05

    Eurostat: Railway security is on the right track in Greece

  39. 22/01 22:58

    Transavia France adds more flights to Rhodes and Kalamata in Greece

  40. 22/01 22:51

    AP report on Spirit Tourism: Britain records rise in visits to distilleries

  41. 22/01 22:41

    MSC Cruises picks Greek port Piraeus for homeporting from 2021

  42. 22/01 22:31

    Greece honored country at 11th Balkan Cheese Festival in Belgrade

  43. 22/01 22:01

    Central Greece Governor's interview: Our Region has it all

  44. 22/01 21:56

    Minister: Debt swap deal between Greek state and National Bank mutually beneficial

  45. 22/01 21:47

    Greek fans cheer on Giannis and Thanasis Antetokoumpo at Barclays Center (videos)

  46. 22/01 20:40

    Prime Minister Mitsotakis presents new draft bill for Greek universities

  47. 22/01 19:57

    Wyndham Hotels & Resorts named best place to work for LGBTQ equality

  48. 22/01 18:32

    Tax-free shipping magnates to renovate and equip public hospitals in Greece

  49. 22/01 17:31

    European Commission Chief: Greece is moving ahead into new era of equality

  50. 22/01 16:12

    Ordination to the Episcopacy of Bishop Elpidios of Kyanea in Sydney

  51. 22/01 14:06

    Greek government and institutions discuss 5th surveillance report on economy

  52. 22/01 12:55

    British Museum may face fine if it doesn't return Parthenon Marbles to Greece

  53. 22/01 10:19

    EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety to arrive in Athens on Thursday

  54. 22/01 04:14

    New initiative for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece

  55. 22/01 04:03

    Spectacular photo of Greece's snow-covered Mount Olympus goes viral

  56. 22/01 03:58

    Melina Mercouri honored with commemorative events across Greece in 2020

  57. 22/01 03:53

    Mohegan Gaming Advisors wins casino license in Hellenikon project in Athens

  58. 22/01 03:41

    Greece aims at wider use of electric cars and plans incentives

  59. 22/01 01:35

    Olivier Py directs “Wozzeck” at the Greek National Opera in Athens (video)

  60. 21/01 23:30

    Dodecanesian Federation Taverna Night and Vasilopita Cutting in Astoria, NY

  61. 21/01 22:17

    Minister: Solution for Elefsis shipyards a top priority for Greek government

  62. 21/01 21:25

    National Public Health Organization: Coronavirus risk low among travelers

  63. 21/01 19:15

    Greek Cheese “Arseniko” in EU Protected Designation of Origin products list

  64. 21/01 17:10

    Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens unveils its museum with relics collection

  65. 21/01 17:10

    Greek FM: Defence cooperation deal with US guarantees peace in the region

  66. 21/01 15:59

    AP: Paris couture climbs Greece's Mount Olympus and plumbs marine depths

  67. 21/01 15:05

    The United Kingdom deplores Turkish drilling around Cyprus waters

  68. 21/01 13:53

    Italian diva Monica Bellucci to play Maria Callas in Athens theatre

  69. 21/01 12:52

    Fire-stricken Greeks send message of compassion: Stay strong Australia!

  70. 21/01 11:47

    Patras-Pyrgos construction to go ahead under Olympia Odos in Southern Greece

  71. 21/01 04:43

    Prime Minister Mitsotakis meets delegation of Greek-Armenian community

  72. 21/01 04:39

    Institutions’ reps coming to Athens for the 5th post-memorandum evaluation

  73. 21/01 03:43

    AP: Greek tennis star Tsitsipas beats Caruso at Australian Open (video)

  74. 20/01 23:12

    ESM's Chief: Greek economy doing better than expected

  75. 20/01 23:08

    Many Greek restaurant and tavern owners prefer smoking ban stopped

  76. 20/01 21:02

    Greece and France agree on plan over migrant and refugee issue

  77. 20/01 19:55

    Winners of 2nd UNWTO tourism startup competition announced in Spain

  78. 20/01 19:48

    Germany “understands and shares” Greece's worries over Turkey-Libya MoU

  79. 20/01 17:36

    GNTO President Angela Gerekou: For Greece tourism is identical to hospitality

  80. 20/01 15:26

    Cyprus wants more cruise ships serviced at port of Limassol

  81. 20/01 15:22

    Photo show on Veria's flowering peach tree festival in city of Thessaloniki

  82. 20/01 13:17

    UNWTO: International tourism growth continues to outpace the global economy

  83. 20/01 11:13

    Registered unemployment on the rise in Greece during December 2019

  84. 20/01 09:52

    PM meets with Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos II

  85. 19/01 15:10

    Marine Tourism: Adorable seal pups rescued and ready to return to Greek waters

  86. 19/01 15:05

    First-ever Vasilopita celebration at St. Photios National Shrine in Florida

  87. 19/01 15:00

    Greece to relocate some 100 unescorted refugee children to neighboring Serbia

  88. 19/01 14:54

    AHEPA helps in building bridges between Greece, Israel and Cyprus through Athens

  89. 19/01 14:46

    Greece records largest drop in house prices and rents in Europe during last 12 years

  90. 19/01 14:39

    Weather records announced in Greece during 2019

  91. 19/01 14:29

    Mayor of Kalamata invites visitors to Greek city in interview with TNH

  92. 19/01 14:22

    Greek Alternate Foreign Minister in Brussels on Sunday for IHRA conference

  93. 19/01 12:13

    The National Herald releases special guide on Tourism in Greece for 2020

  94. 19/01 10:05

    Greek PM speaks with European Council and European Commission chiefs

  95. 19/01 04:49

    U.S Embassy in Athens closed for Martin Luther Day on Monday

  96. 18/01 14:35

    Leadership 100 Conference to announce full program on February 20-23

  97. 18/01 14:24

    “Dublin is dead,” EU’s VP Schinas informs Greek Parliament

  98. 18/01 14:12

    Giannis Antetokounmpo and partner Mariah throw party for baby ‘Greek Freak’

  99. 18/01 14:03

    UK assures it will not deport unregistered EU citizens after Brexit

  100. 18/01 13:53

    Grant Thornton: Optimism grows among entrepreneurs in Greece