Thousands of British holidaymakers, an estimate put them at 600,000 are facing problems all over the world over unpaid bills by bankrupt holiday service provider Thomas Cook.
According to reports, tourists at the Les Orangers beach resort near Tunis, Tunisia said guards are keeping the gates shut and refusing to let them leave, with the hotel demanding they pay extra money out of fear it won’t be paid what it is owed by Thomas Cook for holiday bookings.
Thomas Cook needs £200million on top of the £900million rescue deal agreed last month and is now hoping for an unlikely government bailout.
The 178 year-old operator said it needs the money or else face administration, which could affect 600,000 holidaymakers and require Britain’s largest repatriation since World War II.
But up till Sunday, fund intervention is looking unlikely to come from the government.
Ministers are unlikely to step in due to worries about the pioneering operator’s longer-term viability, the Times reported on Saturday, leaving it on the brink.
Without funding, the group’s activities would cease immediately, forcing its travel agencies to close, grounding its planes and leaving the group’s 22,000 global employees — 9,000 of whom are in Britain — out of a job.
Directors, probably from audit firms, will be appointed to try to find a buyer, restructure its debt or sell assets.
Some 600,000 tourists worldwide would have to be repatriated, including 150,000 Britons, making it the largest such operation in the country since World War II.
The operation could take two weeks, the maximum duration of most of Thomas Cook’s package breaks.
The British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) would be responsible for organising the repatriation, as it was during the bankruptcy of British airline Monarch in October 2017.
The bill is expected to run to several billion pounds, including £600 million in the United Kingdom alone.
The CAA has already drawn up an emergency plan called “Operation Matterhorn”, named after an American bombing operation against Japanese forces during World War II.