The collapse of Thomas Cook sent shockwaves through the Balearic tourist and business sectors yesterday with the local government admitting that it is far too early to put a figure on the true extent of the financial fall out, although the Minister for Tourism, Employment and Finance, Iago Negueruela admitted during an emergency press conference that the numbers are going to be “big”.
The transport sector estimated that the collapse will mean the loss of some five million euros. The 35 companies in the Balearics which provide coach services are the sector which will be most affected, the Balearic Transport Federation stated yesterday. A fear is that outstanding invoices won’t be paid.
However, although it is early days, the minister stressed that the government’s priorities were “to protect our destination (i.e. the Balearics) and to protect tourists” in any circumstances they might find themselves and “whatever happens”.
Negueruela said that over the coming days his departments will be talking to all sectors involved in the Balearics to begin assessing the full impact and discussing how best to move forward to try and repair the damage in the long term.
He was also keen to underline that this is a moment for the Balearics to shine.
“We’re not interested in what other destinations are doing.
“This is the Balearics, it’s famous for its professionalism and quality and at times like this we have to step up and make sure that everyone affected, holiday makers and former employees are well cared for.
“It’s not our fault but we’ve got to deal with it as best and as calmly as possible and protect the interests al of those affected,” he said.
The minister added that the Balearic government has been working over the weekend with a group of businesses in seeking mechanisms for collaborating with Thomas Cook in order to find necessary financing for the tour operator.
The national government had been involved with this initiative as well.
However, the British government had not backed it.
President Armengol said yesterday that she was highly concerned by the collapse of Thomas Cook. It is a situation that will have a “very significant” overall impact in the Balearics.
Armengol is due to meet the national tourism minister, Reyes Maroto, who herself said yesterday that there would be a coordination meeting to assess the situation in all regions of Spain. The President of the Majorcan Hotel federation, Maria Frontera, also expressed deep concern on behalf of her members.
She said that the demise of Thomas Cook is going to have “unprecedented” repercussions in Majorca.
The tour operators was the second largest in the Balearics bringing around one million holiday makers to the region every year and, at this time of year, Thomas Cook UK accounts for around 15 percent of hotel guests.
“We were already entering into a period of deep uncertainty and insecurity and Thomas Cook going under is going to make matters much worse.”