the shock wave hits the Mediterranean countries

Spain, Greece, Tunisia … In countries where tourism is king, the bankruptcy of the British tour operator will weigh heavily in the immediate future.

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Thomas Cook's headquarters in Palma de Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain), 24 September. JAIME REINA / AFP

When Thomas Cook declared bankruptcy on Monday, September 23, at 3:30 am, the concern immediately focused on its 650,000 customers traveling around the world, with a large contingent of Brits (150,000) and Germans (140,000). And of its 22,000 employees, including 780 in France, where the subsidiary announced Tuesday night, she would apply for a placement in receivership in order to"To ensure the continuity of its activity". But for the countries where the tour operator sent its customers, the economic cost of bankruptcy will also be heavy, at least for the time being. Especially since the bankruptcy of this 178-year-old agency marks the end of an era, that of a certain mass tourism for which Thomas Cook was, for decades, one of the main promoters.

"The countries around the Mediterranean will be the most affected"warns Didier Arino, director of the consulting firm Protourisme. For Tunisia, which has more than 300 partner institutions of the agency, it estimates the loss to about 60 million euros for hoteliers alone, and "More than 100 million for the entire value chain" (hoteliers, restaurateurs, guides, transport, suppliers). Some will never be paid or compensated. At the World level, "The slate will be well over a billion" only for the hotel sector, says the consultant.

The causes of the bankruptcy of tour operator Thomas Cook: Debt, Competition, Brexit

Spain, where tourism accounts for nearly 12% of gross domestic product (GDP), takes the case very seriously. In the wake of the bankruptcy, the Secretary of State for Tourism, Isabel Oliver, summoned the regional advisers of tourism of the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, the community of Valencia, Catalonia and Andalusia, as well as representatives of the hotel management. Objective: analyze the consequences and consider measures to limit their impact. About 70,000 tourists who came with the operator are currently in the country, proof of its importance. For the sole day of Tuesday, sixteen flights had to be canceled in Palma de Mallorca (Baleares), twenty in Tenerife (Canary Islands) and six in Reus (Catalonia).

Concern is growing among service providers, bus companies, restaurants and hoteliers

The giant of the all-inclusive trip leaves unpaid bills for more than 200 million euros, according to the employers federation Exceltur. Concern is growing among service providers, coach companies, restaurants and hotels. Not to mention the damage caused by cancellations of future stays. Nearly 114,000 tourists were expected in the next fifteen days. By 2018, Thomas Cook had sent 3.6 million foreigners to Spain, mainly to the Canary Islands (30,000 rooms for Thomas Cook) and the Balearic Islands (40,000). It has eight brands and employs some 2,500 people.


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