Hundreds of hotels in Spain are threatened with imminent closure following the collapse of British travel giant Thomas Cook, the head of the Spanish hotel federation warned on Monday.
“There are 500 hotels that are going to close immediately due to the Thomas Cook collapse and the situation could get worse if the government does not take immediate action,” Juan Molas, head of the Spanish Hotels Confederation and tourist accommodation. daily Cinco Dias.
And the sum of the bad debts left by the disappearance of the tour operator would be well above the initial estimate of 200 million euros ($ 220 million), said Molas, whose organization represents 15,000 companies.
“It will be a lot more. The amount for just eight channels is close to 100 million.”
Of those hotels threatened with immediate closure, 100 depended exclusively on Thomas Cook, he said, while the rest relied on the company for 30 to 70 percent of their customers.
A hotel in Fuerteventura, the second largest in the Canary Islands, had recently been upgraded by 20 million euros and was now facing 700 rooms “which are going to be empty from October 7” and 200 employees that he would be forced to dismiss. .
The most affected are those in the Canaries and the Balearic Islands, where 40% of hotels are affected.
The industry has drawn up a contingency plan that will be presented to Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto at the next Spanish Tourism Council meeting on October 7, which will also address the urgent issue of air links with the Canary Islands.
Industry experts fear the impact will be even more devastating than elsewhere, as the resort is very popular as a winter destination among tourists from northern Europe.
“The busy season is starting and Thomas Cook had 30% of the air capacity,” Molas said, indicating that the disappearance of the package holidaymaker could affect some 1.3 million plane seats, with Tenerife and Lanzarote particularly hard hit.
He urged the government to contact RyanAir, one of the few carriers that flies there, to urge the low-cost airline “to reconsider” its plan to close four bases in Spain, including three in the Canaries, saying that it was “critical” that the airline maintain its flights.
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