The collapse of Thomas Cook, one of Britain’s oldest companies has impacted negatively on Africa’s tourism industry.
In many African countries the company operates, managers of tourism sectors have spoken of the sharp impact.
Thomas Cook runs hotels, resorts and airlines for 19 million people a year in 16 countries.
About 45 hotels deal exclusively with Thomas cook in Tunisia.
In Tunisia for Instance, Thomas Cook owes Tunisian hotels 60 million euros for stays in July and August.
Tunisia’s Tourism Minister Rene Trabelsi was reported by Reuters as saying that a crisis meeting with the British ambassador in Tunisia and hotel owners was held over the debt.
Settling Thomas Cook’s debts
Trabelsi said the British government pledged to pay Thomas Cook’s debt but it is unclear when that will happen.
“We have a proposal to open a line of financing of the affected hotels…we will call for ministerial council to study how we can help them,” Trabelsi said.
Tunisia was just about regaining momentum with it’s tourism sector with visitors from Europe and America returning to the country.
In 2015 militants killed 39 tourists on a beach in Sousse and 21 people in the Bardo National Museum in the capital Tunis.
Tunisia had expected to receive a record 9 million tourists by the end of 2019. In 2018 the country recorded a figure of 8 million.
The collapse of Thomas Cook means thousands of tourists will have to be repatriated.
In Gambia, the small west African country’s significant source of revenue was from tourism.
Thomas Cook Group was the country’s leading tour operator, flying majority of visitors to the country.
Tourism Minister Hamat Bah was quoted by local newspaper The Point as saying that the collapse of Thomas cook will adversely affect Gambia’s economy which represents 30% of GDP.
“It was great shock to learn their bankruptcy. Government will make plans to put something in place to bring British tourists by inviting other airlines to cheap in to fill the gap,” Mr. Bah said.
The chairman of Gambia Hotel Association, Buna Njie also told the Point newspaper “the closure of Thomas Cook is a serious blow in the tourism sector because the expected number this year which 57000 tourists who booked their flights will be decreased.”
Njie said “Hotels managers, officials of Gambia Tourism Board put a strategy plan to invite other airlines Gambia Experience, (British ) FTI German airline and 3 TUI – Anglo-German Tour Operator from UK to put more flights.”
Last year 209,134 tourists visited The Gambia, with 52,103 of them British. This year 40, 000 British tourists booked hotels.