Spain and Greece are scrambling to mitigate the economic
impact of Thomas Cook's collapse,
which has dealt a major blow to hotels.
The demise of Thomas Cook Airlines, which transported many Brits
to Spain on scheduled and charter flights, has left some destinations with
significantly less airlift. Meanwhile, hotels and resorts that had relied heavily
on Thomas Cook's wholesale business to sell the bulk of their inventory are now
facing financial insolvency.
According to reports, the Spanish Confederation of Hotels
and Tourist Accommodation expects that up to 1.3 million travelers will be
unable to fly into Spain in the coming fall and winter months. It also estimates
that around 500 Spanish hotels are at risk of imminent closure.
The Spanish government has responded with rescue measures,
including a credit line for struggling businesses and subsidies to buoy the
Canary Islands and Balearic Islands, the two most popular winter destinations
in Spain for Thomas Cook customers.
Greece also is bracing for a major financial hit. Alexandros
Vassilikos, president of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, called the Thomas Cook
situation "one of the biggest crises we have had to deal with so far."
A survey of 10,000 Greek hotels conducted by the trade group
indicates that around 1,200 properties were working with various Thomas Cook
organizations at the time of the company's collapse. That number includes hotels
branded under Thomas Cook Hotels & Resorts -- which includes the Sentido,
Casa Cook and Cook's Club flags, among others. Many other hotels had counted on
Thomas Cook for more than 75% of their sales.
"These hotels are on the priority list in all
discussions, in order to apply measures that will allow them to operate again
next year," said Vassilikos. He said the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels will
work with national and regional authorities to try to replace flights and
increase advertising for impacted markets.