Holidaymakers worldwide have been hit by the bankruptcy of the world’s oldest tourist firm, Thomas Cook. Over 600,000 people are reportedly stranded around the world, following the collapse of the tour giant, bringing a great cost to both the tourist industry and the company’s staff.

Many of the company’s clients have been waiting at airports, hotels and ports agonising about getting back home.

Britain has had to organise the repatriation of almost 150,000 citizens; the biggest repatriation operation since World War II, while thousands of travellers’ fates remain in limbo.

The agency’s demise has caused job losses to cancelled honeymoons, as well as health risks for patients trying to access therapy destinations.

At the same time, hoteliers and travel agents keep advising Thomas Cook clients to get in contact with them in order to resolve the issue.

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“There’s a sign saying that Thomas Cook customers should get in touch with their agency, but you don’t get through to anybody because it doesn’t exist,” David Midson from Kent in southeast England told Reuters while stranded in Corfu.

“The closure of Thomas Cook is a very unpleasant development that requires a rapid and effective response,” the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) on Monday.

From Crete, where the mood is grim given the sheer number of hotels partnered with the international tour operator, the president of the Heraklion Hoteliers Association, Nikos Chalkiadakis spoke of the massive blow to the island’s tourism sector.

“The financial losses for the hotels of Crete are estimated in the tens of millions,” he stressed, adding that the loss suffered by one hotelier in Heraklion alone came to 650,000 euros.

Greek hotels are assessing the damage caused by the collapse of the international travel agency, tourism representatives informed.