Frankfurt am Main – As iconic British tour operator Thomas Cook declares bankruptcy, some 600,000 tourists from around Europe have had their holidays disrupted.
Here is what we know so far about how they will be affected and what the 178-year-old 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.
Who is affected by the collapse of Thomas Cook?
– 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 the 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.
– France –
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.
Thomas Cook passengers face an anxious wait at Palma airport
– Austria –
Number of tourists involved: 5,000
The government does not foresee any exceptional measures and said travellers are covered by insurance schemes for possible repatriations.
– Bulgaria –
Number of British tourists in country: 2,500
Thomas Cook is one of Bulgaria’s main tour operators.
“Its bankruptcy will have a tsunami effect on Bulgarian tourism,” Roumen Draganov, the director of the Institute for Tourism Analysis and Assessment, told public radio.
About 300,000 British and German tourists travel to Bulgaria with Thomas Cook every year.
The company has about fifty hotels on the coast of the Black Sea.
– 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 in 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 the 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.
International tourists and related revenue since 2000
By Tom Barfield