An estimated 7million tourists travel through Spanish airports each year with Thomas Cook and its subsidiaries, according to data collected by airport operator AENA, meaning its collapse could severely damage the Spanish tourist industry – most especially the Balearics and the Canary Islands.
On Tuesday tourism chiefs from the regions where visitor numbers are biggest travelled to Madrid to hold crisis talks with a view to mitigating the impact of the collapse.
Spanish labour unions warned that tens of thousands of jobs could be lost while the overall impact of the loss of Thomas Cook business could lead to millions of euros in losses.
Reyes Maroto, the industry, trade and tourism minister in Pedro Sanchez’s caretaker government has called in tourism chiefs from Catalonia, the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands and Andalusia to discuss measures “alleviate the negative impact the Thomas Cook bankruptcy will have on our market”
According to El Pais Thomas Cook was one of the five largest international hotel operators in Spain operating a fleet of 105 places and managing 63 hotels.
The hotels alone reportedly employ 2,500 workers and provide 12,000 beds but in addition Thomas Cook holidays also make bookings with external hotel chains.
Some 15 percent of all tourism to the Balearic Islands every year arrive on Thomas Cook flights and in the Canary Islands that figure rises to 25 percent of all visitors.
Exceltur, the federation overseeing Spain’s tourism industry, estimated that more than €200 million were owed by Thomas Cook to the Spanish tourism sector.
The impact of the debt will not only hit hotels but also include airport fees, transport services, rental car, guides and excursions, basically every aspect of the whole holiday package.
José Luis Zoreda, the vice president of Exceltur has called for emergency rescue package for the Canary Islands, as tourism there would be hit not just by Thomas Cook's demise but also the closure of Ryanair bases on the archipelago.
“The Spanish Government and Aena will have to 'breastfeed' the Canary Islands by introducing some extra subsidising measures in order to save the Canary Islands,” Zoreda told Spanish newspaper El Confidencial.