Thomas Cook’s bankruptcy hits 600,000 European tourists

AFP . Frankfurt Am Main | Update:

An airplane of British tour operator Thomas Cook is seen on 23 September 2019 at the airport in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany. Photo: AFPAs British tour operator Thomas Cook declared bankruptcy Monday, some 600,000 tourists from around Europe had their holidays disrupted.

Here is what we know so far about how they will be affected and what the company, its subsidiaries, and national governments in departure and destination countries are doing to clear up the mess.

Britain
Number of tourists abroad: 150,000

The British government has said it will charter planes to bring its stranded citizens home from their holiday destinations, in the biggest repatriation since World War II.

"All customers currently abroad with Thomas Cook who are booked to return to the UK over the next two weeks will be brought home as close as possible to their booked return date," the government said.

Germany
Number of tourists abroad: 140,000

Thomas Cook's subsidiary Condor has said it will continue flying and applied for an emergency "bridging loan" from Berlin. The airline is no longer legally allowed to carry passengers who booked through its bankrupt parent company.

Meanwhile, the German branch's legally-mandated bankruptcy insurance should cover costs of repatriating citizens up to 110 million euros ($121 million), government spokespeople said.

Thomas Cook said 21,000 people who had been slated to fly on Monday and Tuesday must now stay at home.

Map showing where British travel firm Thomas Cook and its subsidiaries operated, based on the company`s annual report in 2018. Photo: AFPFrance
Number of tourists abroad: 10,000

Thomas Cook has set up an emergency hotline for French customers currently on holiday and has warned those scheduled to fly Monday not to travel "to avoid any further difficulties".

Scandinavia
Number of tourists abroad: 35,000

Around 17,000 Swedes and 9,000 people each from Denmark and Norway are currently on holiday with Thomas Cook. Almost 6,000 more had Monday flights cancelled by its subsidiaries Ving, Globetrotter, Spies and Tjareborg.

In Denmark, competing tour operators Tui and Bravo Tours said they would fly Thomas Cook customers to their destinations, without specifying how many they could handle.

Tui said it would cover return travel costs for customers whose stays in its hotels were packaged with flights from Thomas Cook.

Benelux
Number of tourists abroad: 20,000

With around 10,000 each from the Netherlands and Belgium affected, neither country plans to repatriate their citizens immediately.

"There's an arrangement for them to be able to finish their holidays," a Thomas Cook spokesman told Dutch news agency ANP.

The Netherlands also has a foundation that takes over the costs for travellers let down by -- for example -- a tour operator's bankruptcy.

Cyprus
Number of tourists present: 15,000

Cyprus' deputy tourism minister Savvas Perdios said the government was working with Britain to repatriate its citizens.

"As for owed monies for the operations of July, August and even September, until last week, I don't think anyone (i.e. the local hoteliers) expect to get compensated for that in any way," he added.

Greece
Number of tourists present: 50,000, including 22,000 on Crete

Tourism minister Haris Theocharis said the process of returning foreign tourists was already under way. The ministry has set up a crisis centre to manage the operation, with 15 aircraft already having landed on the islands of Zakynthos, Corfu and Cos.

Tunisia
Number of tourists present: 4,500

Some tourists in Tunisia, especially in coastal hotspot Hammamet, have already been charged for services Thomas Cook was unable to cover over the weekend.

A crisis centre has been set up to deal with tourists' and hoteliers' questions.

Turkey
Number of tourists present: 21,000

Turkey's tourism ministry said it would set up a loan scheme to support local companies affected by Thomas Cook's sudden bankruptcy.

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