The world’s oldest travel agency has collapsed, leaving 21,000 jobs at risk, stranding thousands of passengers.
The biggest story in travel news is the collapse of Thomas Cook and the biggest peacetime repatriation in history. Thousands of passengers who booked through the 178-year-old travel company were stranded and the news featured tired Brits, queuing at various airports, simply trying to get home.
It is not just the company’s customers that are smarting from the recent news, however. Popular destinations in Europe and elsewhere are also likely to be hit hard.
Spanish travel industry hit hard
Tourism makes up almost 12 percent of Spain’s GDP, with destinations like the Canary Islands seeing more than a quarter of its visitors coming there via Thomas Cook. UGT, the general union of workers in Spain, has already warned that the crash of Thomas Cook could directly affect the jobs of 10 percent of hospitality workers in the Canary Islands. This at a time when the Canaries are about to start their highly lucrative winter season with many hotels worrying about the possibility of “no bums in beds.”
The Guardian quotes Tenerife MP Melisa Rodriguez as saying they are “up against one of the biggest economic crises” ever. According to Rodriguez, 60 percent of the tourism in the Canaries is contracted through tour operators like Thomas Cook. She also said one particular hotel chain in the Canary Islands had 14,000 bookings for December, but is set to lose 10,000 of those bookings. The situation is also likely to affect 12,000 jobs across the islands.
While the demise of Thomas Cook will affect many Spanish destinations, Rodriguez believes the situation will hit the Canaries harder, as those regions are ending their main tourist season and the Canaries is about to begin. However, October is still within Mallorca’s popular season and authorities in the Balearic Islands are already expecting to lose 25,000 visitors during October. It’s not just Spain, however, as countries like Cyprus, Greece, Tunisia and Turkey are also feeling the pain.
Travel scammers wake up to the potential
Police in various areas of the UK are warning those affected by Thomas Cook’s demise to be aware of the latest travel scam. Holidaymakers, already hit by the collapse of the travel company, are now being targeted by scammers, trying to take advantage of the situation.
These holidaymakers were already out of pocket due to cancellations, but now many are receiving phone calls. These calls are purported to be from Thomas Cook, but they are really intended to swindle said holidaymakers out of more of their hard-earned cash.
The Plymouth Herald quotes Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, as warning people to beware of such calls, adding that some of the people receiving them were not actually customers of Thomas Cook. The following tweet is from a person who received one such scam call, asking for her bank details in order to refund her holiday. Only problem is, she never booked a holiday through Thomas Cook, but naturally many of the victims have.
Thomas Cook refund agents just rang. If I would give my bank account details they will arrange immediate refund of my holiday.
Only problem is I have not booked a Thomas Cook holiday.
Some people will stop at nothing in their scam attempts.
— Czech girl lover (@czechgirllover) September 24, 2019