Morocco sets up crisis unit to deal with Thomas Cook collapse

Professionals in hotel industry say hoteliers will have to deal with unpaid receivables of about 20 million dollars after British tour operator’s bankruptcy.

Thomas Cook brought 150,000 customers to Morocco last year

The deal to bring 400,000 British tourists by 2020 is now history

CASABLANCA – Morocco’s ministry of tourism set up Monday a crisis unit to monitor and supervise the repatriation of thousands of British and other European holidaymakers following the collapse of British tour operator Thomas Cook.

Moroccan authorities have yet to specify the number of tourists affected by the bankruptcy of the world’s oldest travel company.

Thomas Cook brought 150,000 customers to Morocco last year.

Moroccan media quoted professionals in the hotel industry as saying some 60 to 80 hotels would be affected, especially those offering all Inclusive deals.

The presidents of two major tourist groups said that Thomas Cook’s bankruptcy will have negative financial repercussions on the short and medium term.

They said that some hoteliers will have to deal with unpaid receivables of about 20 million dollars, which will hit their revenues, according to Medias24.

A deal signed in 2017 between the Moroccan National Tourist Office (ONMT) and Thomas Cook to increase the number of British holidaymakers from 70,000 to 400,000 by 2020 is now history.

"We are confident about the resilience of the destination Morocco through the development of the airline business and that of other Tour Operators, whether traditional or online," said the ONMT, seeking to reassure the worried market.

Experts say that Marrakech and Agadir will be the most affected cities with an estimated loss of 150,000 tourists following Thomas Cook’s demise.

The British regulator Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is contacting hotels hosting Thomas Cook customers to tell them that they will be paid by the government, through an insurance scheme.

Last year, Morocco received some 683,000 British tourists, totalling 2.14 million overnight stays, according to figures from the Moroccan Tourism Observatory.