Turkey to back businesses hit by Thomas Cook collapse

Turkey to back businesses hit by Thomas Cook collapse
More than 21,000 Thomas Cook customers stranded in Turkey will receive assistance from the Turkish government, authorities said on Monday.
2 min read
23 September, 2019
More than 21,000 Thomas Cook customers are stranded in Turkey [Getty]
Turkey confirmed it would support local businesses impacted by the collapse of British tour operator Thomas Cook, noting 21,033 of its customers were currently in the country.

"The tourism and finance ministries are working on a 'credit support package' to be put in place as soon as possible to help (affected) businesses," the tourism ministry said on Twitter.

Antalya in Turkey was one of Thomas Cook's top destinations, along with Bodrum and Dalaman. 

The 178-year-old British operator failed to get a last-ditch rescue deal over the weekend and declared bankruptcy on Monday, leaving 600,000 tourists stranded worldwide.

Some 150,000 of those passengers are Britons seeking help from London to return home.

ATOL guarantee

Anxious holidaymakers who purchased vacations with collapsed UK tour operator Thomas Cook will have the safety net of the "ATOL guarantee" to rely on.

British travel companies are required by law to hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence (ATOL) under a scheme which is based on a European Union directive.

The ATOL guarantee scheme is managed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and covers tourists who have purchased all-inclusive trips with flights and hotels.

British tourists remain protected despite the nation's looming departure from the EU at the end of October.

The CAA has vowed that everything will be done to bring back the more than 150,000 Britons currently stranded abroad, in the UK's biggest repatriation since World War II.

Customers already on vacation with Thomas Cook will be able to finish their stay and return on the scheduled date via a different airline.

Holidaymakers who have yet to leave will be refunded or offered alternative vacation plans.

“Hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers affected by the collapse of Thomas Cook will be incredibly worried, especially if they are currently still on holiday and stranded abroad," said Adam French at British consumer organisation Which?

"The good news is that ATOL protection will mean they will be flown back home free of charge.

“Customers who have already paid and booked for an upcoming holiday with the collapsed travel operator should also be entitled to a refund as part of the scheme."

The government's Department of Transport expects that the cost of the repatriation operation will stand at about £100 million (113 million euros, $124 million).

Travellers who have only purchased airline tickets from Thomas Cook are not covered by ATOL -- but they can turn to their credit card provider or insurers for refunds.

The European Package Travel Directive also applies to package holidaymakers who booked in other EU countries, guaranteeing refunds and repatriation in the event of bankruptcy.

Agencies contributed to this report.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab