Thomas Cook bankruptcy spells disaster for expat-owned businesses in Spain

Published:  3 Oct at 6 PM
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The sudden collapse of Thomas Cook is now threatening British-owned businesses in Majorca with a similar fate.

The popular holiday island’s beaches are now bereft of happy holidaymakers, with tourism-oriented British businesses suffering a devastating downturn in trade. The massive repatriation which took place after the firm’s voluntary liquidation has destroyed the resort island’s reputation as a cheap and cheerful holiday destination as well as dealing a huge blow to local businesses. British bar and restaurant owners are reporting a total lack of trade since the news broke, with the after-effects of Brexit looming in the not-too-distant future likely to be the last straw for many.

According to the landlord of one popular pub in Cala Millor, trade plummeted the moment the news broke and is still in the doldrums as there are now few British tourists on the island. According to online English language media, some 500 Spanish-owned hotels are facing permanent closure due to the lack of holidaymakers from the UK. British visitors affected by the 100-year old company’s sudden collapse are now furious over the way they were treated by their hotels, with four and five-figure sums being demanded before tourists could even access their rooms and retrieve their belongings. Worse still, customers of the firm are now being told they must wait two full months before claiming refunds.

In an interesting twist, it’s possible the hotels’ appalling reaction to the disaster is likely to be far more damaging to the island’s tourist trade than the travel firm’s collapse. Future legal action should reimburse them for moneys lost even if they’re not provided for as a part of the bankruptcy proceedings but, in the leisure trade, goodwill is a far more valuable commodity than cash. Many tourists as well as potential expat retirees might well be reluctant to support businesses which behaved in this manner towards innocent victims, even although British expatriate-owned tourist-oriented businesses are likely to take the biggest hit.
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