LONDON: The UK branch of Thomas Cook’s bankruptcy has sent shockwaves throughout the global tourism industry.
Sunday’s announcement came after the company’s top officials failed to reach a settlement with lenders to continue operating. Thomas Cook needed £200 million up front ($250 million) and an additional package of £900 million to pay off liabilities.
The tourism sector in Egypt was affected after Hossam El-Shaer, chairman of the Egyptian Travel Agencies Association (ETAA) and Thomas Cook’s operator in Egypt, announced that 25,000 reservations in Egypt, booked up to April 2020, had been cancelled. El-Shaer said around 100,000 UK-based tourists used to visit Egypt through the company every year.
He added that there were around 1,600 Thomas Cook customers in Egypt at the resort of Hurghada, and that they would return to their countries via consultation with and assistance from the British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Though Thomas Cook in the UK will cease trading, the franchise in other countries, including Germany, Belgium, Holland, France, Poland, and in Scandinavia, is operating normally.
El-Shaer added that after Thomas Cook collapsed, an agreement was reached with the CAA to regulate customer check-outs and the transfer of tourists from Egypt to their home countries according to their departure dates. The company addressed Egyptian hotels, saying it would guarantee all liabilities provided no money was taken from tourists.
Sayed El-Gabry, a Thomas Cook operator in Egypt, said the company’s bankruptcy was an “unfortunate global shock since it is a big company that has strong connections with us, and we worked together for a long time.”
El-Gabry said the company’s bankruptcy was bad news for the entire tourism sector: “The world has lost a huge British economic entity.”