Tourism Ministry mitigating any fallout from Thomas Cooke collapse

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett expressed his confidence that Jamaica will be able to mitigate any potential fallout from the collapse of United Kingdom (UK)-based mega tour operator, Thomas Cook.

Addressing a media briefing at the ministry’s New Kingston headquarters on Tuesday, September 24, he said the immediate impact of the folding will see Jamaica losing up to half of the 1,800 passengers who were booked to arrive on rotation flights from Manchester, England, between Monday (September 23) and October 31.

Additionally, Bartlett surmised that overall impact could potentially see Jamaica lose just over US$10 million in earnings from a fallout in flight bookings of between 10,000 and 11,000 passengers.

Minister Edmund Bartlett addresses journalists during a media briefing at the ministry’s New Kingston corporate office on Tuesday (Photo: Michael Sloley, JIS)

Bartlett said that the Government, through his ministry, is moving to cauterise any potential repercussions to another 20 flights out of Europe’s Nordic region, which incorporates countries such as Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

He advised that Tourism Director Donovan White has been in touch with overseas tour operators and airlines with which Jamaica has forged strong relationships, to explore the most effective solutions.

“As a matter of fact, he [White] is in London now… making contact with other partners such as TUI… and to make sure that Condor [Airlines] is going to fly and that they are not going to fall out, even though they are connected with Thomas Cooke,” Bartlett said.

The minister added that based on the interventions being pursued, “we believe we will be fairly well protected for the other rotations that would have come through [Thomas Cooke]”.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett responds to questions from journalists during a media briefing on Tuesday, September 24. Listening is the Ministry’s Senior Director for Technical Services, David Dobson. (Photo: Michael Sloley, JIS)

“The good news for us, really, is that we have that resilience in terms of the outreach of our marketing activities. We think we will be able to recover, perhaps, half of those 1,800 passengers… based on re-bookings and other airlines coming in to pick up the slack… and to work with some of our other partners [to protect the other rotations],” Bartlett further contended.

Minister Bartlett, who is slated to fly to London to join White and other tourism officials for the Jamaica Travel Market from September 24 to 26, indicated that when the team returns, “We will be able to give a fuller report in terms of the extent to which we have been able to cover ourselves and protect our market for the winter and beyond”.