Officials at the Deputy Ministry of Tourism are scrambling to ascertain the impact of the collapse of Thomas Cook on the Cypriot hotel industry.
All Thomas Cook flights from Larnaca and Paphos airport to the UK are now cancelled. Affected passengers should check the dedicated website thomascook.caa.co.uk for more information.
Thomas Cook's bankruptcy will affect even hotels that do not work with the company
According to Hermes Airports passengers due to fly back to the UK before 06 October 2019 will be brought back to the UK at no cost to them. A 24 hour helpline has been set up to assist Thomas Cook customers abroad and those with future bookings. These are +0300 303 2800 when calling from the UK and +44 1753 330330 when calling from overseas.
Flights operated by Thomas Cook Scandinavia for today 23/09/2019 have been cancelled.
To avoid any inconvenience, passengers are requested to avoid travelling to the airport. Condor airlines flight (DE1661) scheduled for today 23/09/2019 will operate normally.
Chaos in the tourism industry
According to initial estimates the expected losses for Cyprus hotels are set to exceed 60m euros. Many hotels partner with travel agencies each year and some have chosen Thomas Cook as their sole partner. Overall it is estimated that the company brings to Cyprus around 7-8% of the total tourism numbers (150,000), while it is one of the key players in the UK market (12-13%) and the Scandinavian market.
Hotel industry insiders told Kathimerini that Thomas Cook's bankruptcy will affect even hotels that do not work with the company, as the market is not expected to function in healthy conditions and reactions and impacts will reverberate throughout the hotel industry. It is estimated that the problem will be greater for Paphos hotels, as a large number of hotels work exclusively with the company.
PASYXE President Haris Loizidis told Kathimerini that the tourism industry will be affected not only this year but also in 2020 as contracts signed for next year are no longer valid.
Meeting at the Ministry of Tourism
This morning a meeting under Deputy Minister of Tourism Savvas Perdios brought together all tourism stakeholders on the island to examine the issue, the number of British tourists stranded in Cyprus, as well as the economic consequences for Cypriot tourism.
According to sources, Mr Perdios canceled all activities included in his schedule to deal exclusively with Thomas Cook. The focus will be on customer service, the same information says.
Johnson pledges to get stranded British travellers home
The world’s oldest travel firm Thomas Cook collapsed on Monday, stranding more than half a million holidaymakers around the globe and sparking the largest peacetime repatriation effort in British history.
The liquidation marks the end of a British company that started in 1841 running local rail excursions before pioneering the package holiday and growing into one of the world’s largest tour operators. It ran hotels, resorts and airlines for 19 million people a year in 16 countries. Employing 21,000, it currently has 600,000 people abroad, forcing governments and insurance companies to coordinate a huge rescue operation.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to get stranded British travellers home, increasing pressure on the government just as it tries to negotiate an incredibly complicated withdrawal from the European Union. He said the government had rejected a bailout request of about 150 million pounds from Thomas Cook because doing so would have set up a “moral hazard”.
“It is a very difficult situation and obviously our thoughts are very much with the customers of Thomas Cook,” Johnson told reporters on a plane as he headed to the U.N. General Assembly in New York. “We will do our level best to get them home.”
Thomas Cook has been brought low by a $2.1 billion debt pile that prevented it from responding to more nimble online competition. With debts built up around 10 years ago due to several ill-timed deals, it had to sell three million holidays a year just to cover its interest payments.
Chief Executive Peter Fankhauser said it was a matter of profound regret that the company had gone out of business after it failed to secure a rescue package from its lenders in frantic, knife-edge talks over the weekend.
The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said Thomas Cook had ceased trading and the regulator and government had a fleet of planes ready to bring home the more than 150,000 British customers over the next two weeks.