Thomas Cook: over 5,300 travellers reimbursed by Travel Guarantee Fund

Thomas Cook: over 5,300 travellers reimbursed by Travel Guarantee Fund
Global travel company Thomas Cook Group plc declared bankruptcy on Monday 23 September. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Exactly three months after the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook Belgium, the Travel Guarantee Fund has reimbursed 5,319 travellers for a total of €4 million, according to Mark De Vriendt, the Fund's General Manager, on Tuesday.

A total of 2,504 cases have been processed out of the 20,000 expected, he said. All the claims should be settled by May 2020.

Some 83,000 travellers were affected by the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook in Belgium. Some 13,000 of them were travelling at the time of the bankruptcy and had to be repatriated. The others had their holidays cancelled.

Belgium’s Travel Guarantee Fund will only reimburse the amounts of money for travellers’ flight and accommodation packages after Thomas Cook’s bankruptcy, extra costs such as transport to the airport or additional insurances will not be included, even if those things were paid for.

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For 80% of the files, there were little to no problems expected,  Mark De Vriendt, the director of the Guarantee Fund, previously stated. “However, because of the enormous variety of services and involved companies, we think that the other 20% will be very complex,” he added, reports De Standaard.

At the time, consumers organisation Test-Achats expressed hopes that the Travel Guarantee Fund “applies a broad interpretation of the law”, to its review.

The Belgian branch of Thomas Cook, which collapsed earlier in the year, employed over 500 people in the country. The collapse of its parent company, the oldest travel firm in the world, sent shockwaves through the global travel industry, with authorities and travel operators still scrambling to assist the hundreds of thousands of travellers impacted by the travel company’s downfall.

Thomas Cook Group plc officially declared bankruptcy on Monday 23 September, 2019.

Jules Johnston

The Brussels Times

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