€150 million Credit Fund helps Algarve companies face Thomas Cook bankruptcy
Portugal Tourism has launched a €150 million credit fund for tourism businesses affected by the bankruptcy of tour operator Thomas Cook, in order to address damages caused to these companies as collateral of the collapse.
The creation of this support fund was one of the subjects addressed at a meeting held over the weekend on Saturday, between 28 businessmen and leaders of business associations in the Algarve tourism sector, Portugal Tourism and Algarve Tourism (RTA) in Faro.
According to Filipe Silva, vice-president of Portugal Tourism, there was “a lot of concern from companies that have been affected by all the turmoil associated with operator Thomas Cook in the various issuing markets where they operated.”
“Above all, we have tried to understand the magnitude of overdue and past due debts, as well as understand the kind of concerns companies have about how to make credit claims. In this area, we have been identifying, in each of the issuing markets, which are the channels, what the individual situations are,” he explained.
Portugal Tourism and Algarve Tourism are also working in different areas to ensure that the impact of the bankruptcy of this major tour operator is minimised.
One of the main measures has been the creation of the 150 million euro fund that is available to Portuguese companies. This measure is justified by Filipe Silva on the ground that it is expected that some of the affected companies will have “cash problems, particularly those with the highest exposure to the operator”, which needs to be “quickly addressed” in order to prevent economic damage to the region.
João Fernandes, president of Algarve Tourism, said that this fund allows companies to apply for up to 1.5 million euros of credit, with a three year repayment period.
Elidérico Viegas, president of the Association of Algarve Hotels and Tourism Resorts (AHETA), said at the end of the meeting that the creation of this credit fund is a “positive measure”.
“The amount allowed by the credit fund seems to me to be adequate and needs-adjusted, but with too short repayment terms. We have had occasion to express our concerns on this matter here. We think the deadline should be extended from three to six years, “he said.
At the moment, “there is no sign of any Algarvian companies going bankrupt, that is not the point. Fortunately, the fall of Thomas Cook is not enough to jeopardize the survival of the region’s hotel and tourist businesses.” Viegas concluded by saying that “it is still a huge loss, so this treasury support is very welcome.”