By A. Tsimplakis
The Greek tourism sector received a major hit this week with the collapse of tour and travel giant Thomas Cook, the second biggest in Europe. Some 14,000 holiday-makers were evacuated from the country as of Monday, with some 50,000 Thomas Cook customers essentially stranded, at least for a few days, after its sudden bankruptcy.
Some 16,500 holiday-makers will be evacuated today from around Greece, mainly from Crete, Corfu and Zakynthos.
Thomas Cook annually accounted for roughly three million tourists coming to Greece every year, while operating nine hotels directly and another 39 on a franchise basis. Its commercial ties with other hotels and resorts in Greece numbered into the hundreds.
A rough estimate of the losses to be incurred by Greek tourism professionals reaches as high as 500 million euros, with more moderate estimates pointing to a 400-million-euro "hole".
The concern has now shifted from the UK-based company, which is considered as unsalvageable, to subsidiaries in the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, the Scandinavian countries, Belgium and elsewhere.