Monday’s shocking announcement that the British tourism giant Thomas Cook had collapsed has sparked fears across Europe in the countries where the firm had booked thousands of accommodations and tours, among which Greece holds a prominent place.
According to the country’s Tourism Minister Harris Theocharis, the Greek tourism industry will suffer a punishing blow, which will exceed half a billion euros in the long term, due to the bankruptcy of the British firm.
Speaking with the radio station Thema, Theocharis noted that the Greek authorities are attempting to identify the direct cause of the collapse, in order to introduce emergency measures to support the companies and people that are affected the most.
“What we are trying to do is figure out the direct impact; in the long run, you can deal with the problems,” Theocharis stated.
More than 50,000 tourists, 25,000 of whom are British, are still stranded in Greece as a result of the company’s bankruptcy.
The UK government has put in place its largest repatriation operation since World War II, to bring back more than 150,000 of its residents who are stranded in vacation areas all across the globe.
The regions most affected by the Thomas Cook collapse in Greece are the islands of Crete, Rhodes, Zante (Zakynthos), Corfu (Kerkyra), Skiathos and Kos.
On Monday evening, Greece’s ministers of Finance, Labor, and Tourism as well as their respective deputy ministers and the head of the Independent Authority of Public Revenue held an emergency meeting to coordinate the country’s actions to ease the repercussions of this major financial blow.
The Thomas Cook Company and its associates employed more than 1,200 people in Greece alone, with scores of hotels around the country now suffering as a result of thousands of canceled accommodations contracts.