Some 10,500 people have already returned to Belgium through the initiative of the Travel Guarantee Fund (TGF), since the announcement of tour operator Thomas Cook’s collapse last Wednesday.
There are still a little over 1,600 holidaymakers stranded abroad, according to an assessment made on Monday evening by the TGF.
There were many repatriation operations last weekend and on Monday, with more than fifty flights enabling 10,500 Belgian holidaymakers to return home, fund director Mark De Vriendt said on Monday evening.
Many travellers still abroad with Thomas Cook are in Spain, according to the fund’s figures. There are slightly over 500 of them with 281 in the Canary Islands, against 340 in Turkey, about 220 on the Greek islands, some 170 in Egypt and 170 in Tunisia. Other Belgian tourists are notably staying in Montenegro, Morocco, Portugal and Cyprus.
In addition, several hundred travellers are expected to arrive in Belgium on Tuesday.
Problems associated with Thomas Cook will cost the TGF between €20 to €25 million. The fund prioritises the return home of persons finding themselves stranded abroad. It will also have to deal with no less than 70,000 cases involving journeys booked in advance this year.
The downfall of British Thomas Cook group on 23 September by the shuttering of its branches in various countries.
On Monday, Thomas Cook Retail Belgium, responsible for running the Thomas Cook and Neckermann agencies, announced it would finally shut down operations.
In Belgium, the TGF is intervening on behalf of those affected by the collapse. Until now, a good number of travellers were being brought back to the country by Brussels Airlines, a major operating partner of Thomas Cook in Belgium.
The Brussels Times