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Thomas Cook sees Greek exit boosting travel industry
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