Turkey to back businesses hit by Thomas Cook collapse

Telegram från AFP / Omni
23 sept. 2019, 16.05

Turkey said Monday it would support local businesses impacted by the collapse of British tour operator Thomas Cook, adding that 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.

Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy later told reporters in Ankara that the package could be worth 50 million euros ($55 million).

Antalya in southern 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 Monday, leaving 600,000 tourists stranded worldwide.

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

Ersoy said around 21,000 British passengers would be repatriated from Turkey in the coming weeks.

He warned a further 60,000 holidaymakers in Turkey could be impacted if the German, Russian and Nordic subsidiaries of Thomas Cook were dragged into the mess.

The German airline subsidiary, Condor, has said it will continue flying, though it has requested financial aid from Berlin.

"Our priority is for the foreign guests here to go back home without experiencing too much discomfort," Ersoy said.

He warned hotels they would face legal action if they sought money from British tourists since the passengers were protected by a scheme based on a European Union directive.

Ersoy said he was confident other firms would step in to fill the gap left by Thomas Cook.

Turkey's tourist trade has seen a return to form lately, after being badly hit by a spate of terrorist attacks and political unrest in 2016.