The collapse last month of Thomas Cook could result in the closure of more than 500 hotels across Spain, the head of Spain’s largest association of hoteliers has warned.
Speaking to the BBC, Ramon Estalella, general secretary of the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation, said the country had dozens of hotels “open and waiting” for guests – but no way for them to get there following the loss in airlift from the collapse of Cook.
According to the confederation, more than one million autumn and winter visitors will no longer be able to flying into Spanish destinations, which it said would result in the closure of more than 500 hotels at a likely cost of hundreds of millions of euros.
The Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands are likely to be disproportionately hard hit, particularly the Canaries, which is one of the UK’s main winter sun hotspots and is likely to be hit by the loss of around 400,000 Cook passengers.
The Spanish government has announced emergency measures worth €300 million to support the Canaries and Balearics, including a reduction in airport fees, and plans to spend a further €500 million on improving tourism infrastructure.
Estalella said Spain needed to encourage other airlines to take up the slack left by Cook’s collapse, adding hotels would require relief knowing any fees, charges or payments due from Cook would now not arrive.
Rafael Gallego, president of Spain’s CEAV travel agency association, said it was time for a wider rethink of Spain’s tourism proposition, stressing holidaymakers were increasingly looking for more than just warm weather and a holiday vibe from destinations such as facilities or provision for a specific activity or pastime.