Bulgaria’s Minister of Tourism is to ask for a meeting with the country’s Finance Minister and hoteliers who are seeking tax relief to help them survive the Thomas Cook bankruptcy.
More than 50 hotels in Bulgaria worked with the Thomas Cook holiday firm, which went into compulsory liquidation on September 23, and 25 had been in contact with Bulgaria’s Tourism Ministry, minister Nikolina Angelkova said.
Hoteliers were facing losses of millions of leva. Each hotel had a separate contract with the company and ran the risk of not being paid for services already provided, given the 60-day term for payments after the peak months of July and August, Angelkova told a September 24 briefing.
On September 25, in an interview with Bulgarian National Television, she called on Bulgarian hoteliers to continue to serve Thomas Cook customers who were still in the country, because otherwise the image of Bulgaria would suffer and the tourists would not want to to visit the country again.
About 6000 foreign tourists who had arrived through Thomas Cook packages were still in Bulgaria, one third of them British nationals, she said.
Angelkova held a meeting on Tuesday with representatives of the tourism business, including hoteliers, tour operators and tourism associations. UK ambassador Emma Hopkins participated in the meeting.
A contact point has been set up at Bulgaria’s Tourism Ministry to deal with the Thomas Cook issue, Angelkova said. “We are keeping in touch with all interested parties 24 hours a day”.
She said that consideration was being given to introducing a new amendment to Bulgaria’s Tourism Act, to require additional tour operator’s liability insurance for foreign tour operators operating in Bulgaria.
Hopkins said that British embassy representatives had been sent to the airports at Bourgas and Varna. Support for the repatriation operation would continue but delays were possible.