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Thomas Cook sees Greek exit boosting travel industry

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LONDON: British tour operator Thomas Cook expects a surge in bookings to Greece if it leaves the eurozone as holidays to the Mediterran­ean nation wouldbecom­e better value for hard-pressed travellers.

“If Greece exits (the euro), for the tourism industry it could be very profitable,” interim chief executive Sam Weihagen said after the company posted a steep first-half loss yesterday.

“Most probably holidays to Greece will be more profitable for holidaymak­ers than they are today and places like Spain could lose competitiv­eness,” he told reporters.

The 171-year-old travel group said summer bookings to Greece from Germany were down around 20% year-on-year but that bookings from elsewhere to nation had held up.

Tourism is a vital source of income for Greece, accounting for about a fifth of gross domestic product. The outcome of an election next month will likely decide whether Greece remains in the euro.

Debt-laden Thomas Cook posted a pre-tax loss of 328.3 million pounds (US$510mil) for the six months to the end of March, some 40% wider than the loss it reported in the same period a year ago. Its revenues rose 2.4% to 3.51 billion pounds.

The company, which had already revealed losses of £263mil for the winter season, secured a £1.4bil (US$2.2bil) rescue package from its lenders earlier this month. It said its turnaround plans were making good progress. – Reuters

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