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Tunisia Tourism Ministry Tells Hotels to Send Invoices to Thomas Cook HQ

Tunisia Tourism Ministry Tells Hotels to Send Invoices to Thomas Cook HQ

Thursday, 17 October, 2019 - 10:15
A general view shows Tunis-Carthage International Airport in Tunis, Tunisia, (File Photo: Reuters)
Tunis – Mongi Saidani
Tunisian Tourism Minister Rene Trabelsi urged owners of 40 hotels affected by the closure of the British travel agency, Thomas Cook, to file complaints, send their invoices to the company's headquarters in the UK and hire defense attorneys to follow up their cases.

In a meeting with a Polish group visiting Djerba island, Trabelsi revealed the bankrupt company owes Tunisian hotels around €60 million ($66.7 million).

The Minister pointed out that Thomas Cook owes Turkey around $380 billion and Spain $600 billion.

In the same context, Trabelsi said a large number of tourists who booked in Tunisian hotels, have completed these bookings through other travel agencies, which made it possible for the tourist season to be prosperous without cancellations.

At the end of September, the Tunisian Ministry of Tourism returned around 4,500 British tourists to their country as part of Thomas Cook's trips.

The bankrupt company had failed to settle its bills to Tunisian hotels, according to an official familiar with the matter.

He indicated that Thomas Cook organized trips for over 100,000 tourists to Tunisia, mainly from Britain, and established a crisis cell after the declaration of bankruptcy.

The Ministry confirmed that it had been informed that a British fund would cover these amounts within 40 days after the bills are due.

Tunisian authorities expect to receive a record 9 million tourists by the end of 2019, with over 7 million tourists arriving over the past nine months, generating revenues of about $1.1 billion.

A delegation from Thomas Cook visited Tunisia in May and concluded a cooperation agreement with the Ministry of Tourism aimed at revitalizing the flow of British tourists to Tunisia over three years. However, the projects were paralyzed after the company filed for bankruptcy.

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