Hotel owners across the world are millions worth of losses after the collapse of Thomas Cook, which went into liquidation in the early hours of Monday.
The firm offered trips as far away as Cuba and Mexico, but the vast majority of the holidays it sold were to the resorts that line the Mediterranean.
In Greece, Spain and Turkey — Thomas Cook’s most popular summer destinations — the bankruptcy threatens to strike a devastating blow to communities that are economically reliant on package tourism.
Grigoris Tasios, head of Greece’s PanHellenic Federation of Hoteliers, believes that losses to his country’s hotel owners could amount to €300m, including €80m-€100m in Crete, Greece’s most popular destination for package holidays.
The UGT, an umbrella Spanish trade union, has estimated that more than 10 per cent of the 130,000 workers involved in the local hospitality industry could be affected by the tour operator’s collapse.
It is unclear whether hotels and tourism companies will be paid the money owned by Thomas Cook. Two hoteliers told the Financial Times that the Atol protection scheme funded by the UK travel industry would cover the bills for guests who were staying with them at the time of the liquidation announcement, but not for those who had already checked out.
The financial pressure that the collapse of the British firm will inflict on European hotels has led to tensions between guests and hotel managers, with reports of hotels from Tenerife to Tunis handing bills to guests who had already paid hundreds of pounds to Thomas Cook.