This is very bad news for Marrakech and Agadir, the two leading tourism destinations in Morocco. The two have just lost 150,000 tourists after the Thomas Cook debacle. Its bankruptcy will obviously have a direct impact on the sector with a general decline in several issuing markets.
To recover this customer base through other distributors, it will take several months to negotiate contracts, identify hotels, receptives … It is following the failure of a marathon of discussions with its creditors and its Chinese shareholder Fosun that The British TO announced its bankruptcy last Sunday, leaving 600,000 customers on vacation.
The next day, one of the largest repatriation operations began. The British authorities activated Monday morning an emergency plan for repatriation of their nationals. The CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) has launched special aircraft for this operation and the repatriation is expected to last until October 6, although some tourists will be able to return by commercial flights, CAA informs.
In Morocco, around 2,000 guests of Thomas Cook are staying in several hotels, and professionals handle things with great tact. “We are not going to throw people out and behave like thugs,” promises Abdellatif Kabbaj, president of the Kenzi group and president of the CNT.
The ONMT indicates for its part that a crisis unit has been created to monitor and supervise the repatriation of thousands of customers and that the delegations of the Ministry of Tourism in all regions of Morocco as well as that of the Office are set to contribution to frame this operation.
The British tour operator has been operating in Morocco for several years and works with some 50 hotels in Marrakech and Agadir in addition to the establishments on which it had exclusives and several receptive. In 2017, he decided to increase the number of tourists in his portfolio to more than 400,000 tourists by 2020. A partnership was concluded in this direction with the Office that supported him in marketing.
At the end of 2018, the TO reduced 150,000 tourists to Morocco. Thomas Cook, on behalf of the group’s founder, is the oldest tour operator in the world, born in 1841. The company organized its first trip on the rail lines taking 500 travelers from Leicester to Loughborough. The family business will be sold in 1928 several times before being acquired by the German tour group C&N Touristik AG in 2001.
In 2007, under the name of Thomas Cook Group plc, a new entity was formed and introduced on the London Stock Exchange and became one of the largest tourist groups in the world with more than 3,400 points of sale, covering 22 markets and serving more than 21 million customers.
Starting in 2010, the company was facing competition from low-cost travel websites while it was over-indebted. In the first half of 2019, it reported a loss of 1.5 billion pounds, on a turnover of about 10 billion.
Last week, his creditors asked him to find 200 million pounds of additional funding for a bailout – already accepted 900 million pounds and led by its first shareholder, the Chinese Fosun – to be validated. The company failing to find this fresh money declares bankruptcy last Sunday.