CYPRUS: Thomas Cook collapse mitigated due to rescue of subsidiaries

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Initial estimates Cyprus tourism could lose €188 mln in annual revenue from the 250,000 tourists brought by Thomas Cook have been revised after news the firm’s subsidiaries will continue to operate.

Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios told MPs on Tuesday that according to latest developments Thomas Cook’s Scandinavian subsidiary will survive and continue operations as an independent company, while German subsidiary Condor Air is likely to keep flying.

Germany's state of Hesse, where collapsed travel group Thomas Cook's German airline Condor is based, said it is ready to help the airline's application for a federal government bridging loan.

Perdios said only the British parent company Thomas Cook has gone into liquidation which meant that their subsidiaries could be kept alive.

This means that 50% of the travel group’s Cyprus-related operations can continue, cutting losses for the island’s tourism industry in half.

Perdios said that out of the 250,000 holidaymakers brought to the island by Thomas Cook 40% are from Scandinavian countries, while another 10% (25,000) from Germany, the other 50% are British.

Asked about how the Russian market is affected, Perdios said that Biblio Globus, one of Russia's largest travel agents, had announced its sale to Thomas Cook.

But it is not clear whether it was a sale or a sale agreement, provided that everything went well with Thomas Cook's finances.

It now appears, Perdios said, that the sale was conditional as the Russian company has informed hoteliers that everything is running smoothly and is not affected at all by the British company.

On whether the island is too dependent on the two major tourist markets, Britain and Russia, Perdios said his ministry is continuously looking for new markets and to reduce the risk of being dependent on a handful of large tour operators.

Perdios said tourism around the world is going through a rough time as insecurity grows.

He added that all stakeholders should pull together and seek out opportunities to enhance the country’s tourism product, pointing out that that one such opportunity is the World Travel Market to be held in London this November.

Asked about Cyprus connectivity issues, the Deputy Minister said that they are working closely with Hermes Airports and the Transport Ministry in efforts to add new flight schedules.