Thomas Cook Collapse | The Impact On The Travel and Leisure Industry

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Lab team
October 15, 2019
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Thomas Cook was the world’s oldest travel company with around 22,000 staff worldwide, completing 178 years of business. With around 19 million customers a year and £9bn annual sales, Thomas Cook was successfully operating in 16 countries.

However, in recent years the company have openly declared financial difficulties months before their announcement. In September 2019, the global company announced bankruptcy.There are many factors to Thomas Cook’s collapse. Some of the main factors were said to be as a result of changes economically around the world, such as airline competition and Brexit. The travel and leisure industry simply evolved and modernised much quicker than previously before. Travellers are moving away from package holidays and finding other means to book their holidays. They’re also more inclined to organise their own holidays as opposed to using travel agents.The collapse has sent shockwaves throughout the travel industry with employees left without jobs although it’s been announced that rival travel firm Hays Travel has acquired 555 high street stores and as a result of this, could save thousands of jobs.

The impact on popular holiday destinations such as Spain

Many tourist destinations such as Spain depend on holidaymakers all-year-round. As one of the largest travel operators in Spain, they boasted 105 aeroplanes and 63 hotels. As a consequence, small businesses that rely heavily on tourism will be hit. For example, taxi drivers will get less work and restaurants, bars and other local companies could be directly affected as a result of the collapse. To put into perspective, the travel group brought over 3.6 million tourists on average to Spain every year.Seasonal workers who go to work and live in tourist destinations are amongst others to feel the impact, with many local companies relying on these workers to run their day to day business.The government has been urged to take action sooner rather than later. Juan Molas, head of Spain’s Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation, said there are “500 hotels which are going to close immediately due to the collapse of Thomas Cook, and the situation could get worse if the government doesn’t take immediate action.”Spanish politician Melisa Rodríguez said that the collapse could result in the loss of thousands of jobs due to many businesses directly dependent on Thomas Cook package deals.According to the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation, 1.3 million autumn and winter visitors will be unable to fly into Spanish destinations. Some hotels even had bookings for the next 5 years but now face closure with hundreds of employees being laid off.

Does the Spanish government have a plan?

Considering that tourism amounts to 10% of the Spanish economy (this percentage is much higher in regions such as the Canary and Balearic Islands), it’s no wonder the Spanish government aren’t waiting around. According to acting Tourism Minister Maria Reyes Maroto, Spain is in the process of creating a plan worth up to €300m in order to manage the impact. Other solutions being discussed include increasing promotional campaigns and activities directed at Spanish tourism.

Spain is not the only country that will be affected

The impact would have been felt across the globe. Reuters have compiled a list of other countries that have been affected by Thomas Cook’s insolvency and each country’s government response to the crisis. The long list includes countries such as Turkey, Egypt, Norway, Russia, Germany, Cyprus, Tunisia and many more.

Continue booking your travels abroad!

Still looking to travel abroad regardless of Thomas Cook going bust? There are many alternative ways to book your stay in your desired destination. Websites such as and offer a wide array of options, whether you’re looking for accommodation, flights or both. Perhaps you’re searching for more customisable and flexible options? Check out Airbnb for flexibility on your stay with reasonable prices. Searching for low cost flights? Be sure to visit Skyscanner for the best prices.If you are still wondering how you might be affected by the above, Money Saving Expert have put together a very helpful page to answer any questions you might have.Have you been affected? Tell us how in the comments below.