These amounts, amounting to several hundred thousand euros for many hotels, were crucial for the survival of these businesses in an already difficult winter.
Two hoteliers told FT that Tui owed them more than 600,000 euros each and would have to resort to bank lending to survive if the tour operator did not pay them the amount owed this month. A travel agent operating in the islands has received 70,000 euros from Tui and is considering terminating his contract with the company.
Tourism Minister Haris Theocharis told FT that “the government is closely monitoring the situation”, hoping to secure additional EU support for the Greek tourism sector.
For its part, Tui claims that it has given a significant amount of down payment to hoteliers for the summer of 2020 and that it has contacted a “small percentage” of hoteliers in Spain and Greece “to discuss payment plans and consider common choices “.
It is noted that more than 2,000 Greek hotels cooperate with Tui. The Greek tourism industry is estimated to have lost 12-14 billion euros this year due to the pandemic, while Barclays estimates that Tui “burned” 3 billion euros in the last eight months. The tour operator has already received more than 2 billion euros in state-backed loans, and seeks to secure another 1.8 billion euros from the German government. Now, Greek hoteliers are worried that Tui will become the next Thomas Cook.