12° Nicosia,
18 July, 2024

900 tourists in Cyprus affected by FTI Group bankruptcy

30,000 expected visitors impacted; 160 hotels and businesses affected


Around 900 tourists who purchased travel packages from the German-based FTI Group, which has recently filed for bankruptcy, are currently in Cyprus, Deputy Minister of Tourism Kostas Koumis said Tuesday.

An estimated 30,000 tourists who were set to visit Cyprus through the FTI Group are now affected, impacting about 160 hotels and other businesses such as transport services and travel agencies, according to tourism officials.

The bankruptcy is expected to cause minor overall losses to Cyprus’ tourism, but the hotel industry might suffer more, with some hotels potentially facing unpaid bills.

"Our priority is to ensure that all those who bought packages from FTI continue their holidays without interruption and are smoothly repatriated," said Koumis, who is currently in London. He clarified that among the affected are 860 adults and 40 children.

Koumis acknowledged the negative impact on Cyprus' tourism sector, noting that FTI Group was the third largest tour operator in Germany. "This is an unfortunate development as we were working to strengthen the German market," he added.

The bankruptcy is expected to cause minor overall losses to Cyprus’ tourism, but the hotel industry might suffer more, with some hotels potentially facing unpaid bills. "It's a loss of perspective," Koumis said, while emphasizing that the immediate impact is small.

Philokypros Roussounides, Director General of the Cyprus Hotel Association, said FTI was a major player not only in Germany but also in other German-speaking markets, bringing tourists from countries like Poland, Switzerland, Austria, and the Netherlands. "This year, we expected around 30,000 tourists from this group to stay in 160 hotels," he said.

He highlighted the broader challenges facing Cyprus' tourism, including the war in Israel, economic recession in the UK, upcoming British elections, the European Football Championship, and the Olympic Games. "It's a year that will test the resilience of our tourism industry," Roussounides said.

Charis Papacharalambous, President of the Association of Cyprus Travel and Tourism Agents (ACTTA), described the development as "clearly negative" but noted that the direct impact on tourist arrivals would be minimal. "Our numbers from the German market are relatively small compared to other countries," he said.

He added that FTI Group's office in Cyprus and its local partners, including hotels and transport companies, are the most affected due to outstanding payments for services already provided.

Most bookings made through the FTI Group are now canceled. Efforts by other major German tour operators to cover some of these trips have yet to succeed, Roussounides mentioned. Several hotels face potential losses of tens of thousands of euros, but there are no plans to seek state compensation. Instead, incentives and flexibility for tourism businesses are needed.

Papacharalambous pointed out that many bookings have already been transferred to other partners, and the German Travel Security Fund covers direct sales from the FTI Group. He urged consumers to buy from approved tour operators with insolvency coverage to ensure protection.

"When they purchase from approved operators, they are covered. Direct bookings lack such coverage, leaving customers unprotected if something goes wrong with service providers," he said.

[Information sourced from CNA]

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