By Kamal Haynes, BVI News Staff
The recent bankruptcy and closure of global tour operator, Thomas Cook Group, is not expected to have any major impact on tourism in the British Virgin Islands.
This is according to Junior Minister of Tourism Shereen Flax-Charles, who said she has had consultations with the BVI London Office on the collapse of the 178-year-old British company.
“I got a response from the Manager at the London Office and what she’s saying is that it (the collapse of Thomas Cook) is not affecting BVI tourism because they are charter flights. That (charter flights) is what Thomas Cook does so it doesn’t really affect the BVI,” the Junior Minister told BVI News.
She further explained that most of the visitors coming to the BVI from Europe do not travel through Thomas Cook charters.
“European tourists — specifically coming out of England — usually come to Antigua on Virgin Atlantic or Virgin … We do have some persons that fly through London to New York and then New York either to St Thomas or Puerto Rico and then come cross. As with the French and so forth; they would fly direct from Paris to St Maarten and those places and then come across,” Flax-Charles added.
Caribbean neighbours impacted
While the BVI is not projected to feel any impacts, the crash is reported to cause reeling effects on tourism globally. Caribbean islands such as Barbados and Jamaica are among the countries affected by the closing of the company.
According to online newspaper Barbados Today, the collapse of Thomas Cook sent shockwaves through Barbados tourism industry. It said the company operated flights from the United Kingdom during the winter period, which amounted to an estimated 24,000 seat to Barbados annually.
Meanwhile, Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett confirmed that the island stands to lose US$10 million due to the collapse. The Jamaica Observer newspaper reported that 7,300 visitors were expected to travel to the island through 16 Thomas cook Charters between September 2019 and March 2020.
Thomas Cook group ended its operations on Sunday, September 22, after last-minute negotiations aimed at saving the company failed.
It is reported that the abrupt closing of the company left hundreds of thousands of travellers stranded and put an estimated 21,000 jobs at risk.
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