As Thomas Cook, the legendary British travel agency, desperately tries to secure further private investment or government assistance to save its firm, some of its customers are already feeling the repercussions of its financial struggles.
A hotel in Tunisia, hosting guests who used Thomas Cook to book their trip, is apparently charging extra fees before those customers can leave. Guests at the Les Orangers reportedly faced security guards blocking the hotel’s gates as they tried to leave.
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Guests said the hotel asked them to pay additional fees due to “the Thomas Cook situation.”
The “situation” is this: the venerable 178-year old travel firm is facing dire consequences. Thomas Cook is trying to secure another $250 million in addition to the $1.125 billion in funds it secured last month in order to continue operating.
The hope is that if it can’t raise the funds privately, the government would step in with a bailout.
If not, and if the firm is forced to close, it will be a lot more than just a handful of tourists in Tunisia needing help.
If the firm collapses, England is facing its biggest repatriation of British citizens since World War II – some 150,000 Thomas Cook clients currently traveling abroad.
It’s been done before.
Two years ago, the collapse of Monarch Airlines forced the government to take emergency measures in hiring planes to bring 110,000 stranded passengers home, costing taxpayers some $75 million.
“It is incumbent upon the government to act if required and save this iconic cornerstone of the British high street and the thousands of jobs that go with it,” said Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association union. “The company must be rescued no matter what.”
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New Tool Tracks Travelers’ Perceptions of Safety Throughout Reopening Phase
MMGY Global has launched a brand new Travel Safety Barometer tool to help the travel and tourism industry monitor American travelers’ perceptions of safety as society gradually reopens in the wake of COVID-19.
Measured on a scale from 0 (extremely unsafe) to 100 (extremely safe) and based on a monthly survey of 1,200 American travelers, Travel Safety Barometer metrics are published for a series of categories, including domestic and international travel, transportation, lodging, cruising, dining and entertainment.
Currently, MMGY Global’s data suggests that domestic leisure travel, which scores just 34, will bounce back before international (22) or even business travel (29).
The recent Travel Intentions Pulse Survey (TIPS) conducted by MMGY Travel Intelligence found that two-thirds of Americans (68 percent) feel safest when traveling by personal vehicle, so it’s little surprise that the Driving Safety Barometer is highest at 72, more than double that of taking a flight (30). Transportation overall scores a 56.
Lodging is much lower at 35, while dining and entertainment are just slightly behind at 33.
With cruise lines temporarily suspending operations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issuing a no-sail order through late-July, MMGY Global’s Cruise Safety Barometer scores the lowest of any category at 18.
“Travelers’ perceptions of safety are shaped by everything from the latest news headlines and personal experiences to social media. The Travel Safety Barometer will highlight how consumer perceptions of safety evolve as states, countries and travel-related businesses cautiously begin to reopen, allowing the industry to adjust their operational and marketing strategies accordingly to meet consumer needs,” said Chris Davidson, executive vice president of insights and strategy, MMGY Travel Intelligence, in a statement accompanying Thursday’s announcement.
“There is much work to be done by the industry to put in place measures to protect the public’s health and well-being,” added Davidson. “Once this is accomplished, the next challenge becomes how will destinations, hotels, airlines, cruises and other travel businesses provide peace of mind to travelers who perceive them to be unsafe.”
Visit MMGYIntel.com to download the full report.
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