BRITS could be facing more chaos if heading to the Canary Islands this winter – with more than 500 hotels facing closure following the collapse of Thomas Cook.
In September Thomas Cook confirmed that all the UK companies in its group have ceased trading, including Thomas Cook Airlines, after failing to pay the £200million it owed its creditors.
As a result, more than 150,000 holidaymakers were left stranded abroad.
Now, in a double blow, hotels in the Canary Islands and Balearic resorts are saying they have been hit hard due to a lack of planes able to carry tourists to destinations.
President of the Spanish travel agency federation, Rafael Gallego, revealed that the collapse of the giant company mirrors that of financial firm Lehman Brothers, which went bust in 2008.
Speaking to the Daily Star, he said: “It is a terrible news with the collapse of Thomas Cook confirmed. For our sector, it is like the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy for the financial industry.”
Thomas Cook played an enormous part in tourism, ferrying an average of seven million tourists to Spain with their package deals.
Gallego said that four million tourists in that figure were heading to the Canary Islands “and also now with the start of the winter season that is now accepted as lost.”
Juan Molas, president of Cehat, the Spanish hotel federation, said that at least 500 hotels will have to close due to the collapse.
He said: “There are 500 hotels that will close immediately due to the collapse of Thomas Cook and this situation may be worse if immediate action isn’t taken by the state.”
Cabinetmaker and former Baptist preacher Thomas Cook founded the business in 1841 in Leicestershire, for local excursions.
He was hoping to offer an alternative source of entertainment to drinking, and initially offered a 12-mile trip from Leicester to Loughborough.
But, 178 years later, the British tour operator fell victim to multiple setbacks including changing travel habits and the rise of online booking sites.
It was also hit by the sinking pound and unusually hot weather which encouraged fewer Northern Europeans to travel, it adds.
Court documents have also shown a balance sheet deficit of over £3billion.
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