Thomas Cook operator in Egypt says 25,000 bookings cancelled following bankruptcy

Ahram Online , Reuters , Monday 23 Sep 2019

File Photo: Staff are seen on the beach in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, Egypt, August 21, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

Thomas Cook operator Blue Sky Group said on Monday that 25,000 reservations in Egypt booked up to April 2020 had been cancelled after the British tour group announced bankruptcy. 

In a statement sent to Reuters, Blue Sky's CEO Hossam El-Shaar said there were around 1600 tourists in the country's Red Sea Hurghada resort.

He did not provide details about how the holidaymakers are set to jet-off back home.

Earlier on Monday, the world’s oldest travel firm Thomas Cook collapsed, leaving hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers stranded around the globe and sparking the largest peacetime repatriation effort in British history.

A number of tourism experts forecasted that this will reflect negatively on Egypt’s tourism, which has been seeing significant improvement in the past few years after a hit due to a Russian airliner crash over Sinai which killed all on board in 2015. 

The crash has severly affected a tourist influx to South Sinai's Sharm El-Sheikh, leaving a number of countries, including the UK, suspending flights to the popular tourist hub.

Member of Egyptian Tourism Federation Nagi Erian told Ahram Online that Thomas Cook was the first tourism company in the world to start work in Egypt, and that it is the main company the British people use to travel to Egypt.

“We will take our time in the tourism sector, on the level of the government and companies alike, to consider the impacts of this matter and the potential British companies that will replace Thomas Cook,” Erian added.

Meanwhile, head of the tourism syndicate Basem Halaka told Ahram Online that the exit of Thomas Cook from the map will affect Egypt’s tourism market negatively.

“Thomas Cook was a major organiser of charter flights from the UK to Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada, thus, these two cities will affected. In addition, the UK is among the top three countries whose citizens visit Egypt, alongside Germany and Russia,” Halaka clarified.

In July, Director of International Trade at the British Embassy in Cairo Oliver Richards announced that the British tourism flow to Egypt doubled in 2018, and about 400,000 British tourists visit Egypt annually, while 41 flights head from the UK to Egypt per week.

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