KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The collapse of the 178-year-old tour company Thomas Cook is not expected to have much of an impact on tourists from Malaysia, as less than 5% of local travel agents used its services.
Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) deputy president Mohd Akil Yusof said that of the approximately 3,600 travel agents registered with the association, only a small number still used the British company's services as the rest had migrated to platforms that offered better deals.
"Among others, it is also because of too much competition from online travel agencies in the market which offer better terms and conditions, ” he said when contacted by Bernama on Monday (Sept 23).
The company which manages hotels, holiday resorts and an airline catering to some 19 million customers in 16 countries went bust today, causing thousands of tourists to be stranded throughout the world and the British government having to undertake its biggest peacetime repatriation of its citizens in its history.
It was reported that the oldest tour company in the world was burdened with debts to the tune of 1.7 billion British pounds (RM8.85bil), and had a tough time facing online competitors, changes in the tour and travel industry and geopolitical issues.
Mohd Akil also said that so far, the association had yet to receive any complaints from agents or its members due to the cancellation of tour packages offered by Thomas Cook.
"If there are, it will only be known in a week or two, ” he said.
If complaints were received, he said, MATTA would advise the parties affected to make immediate claims to the liquidator appointed in view of the matter being more of a commercial one.
"MATTA can only advise and guide the agents or members on the right way to face the problem but cannot get involved directly because the contract is between the travel agent (if a member of MATTA) and Thomas Cook, ” he added. - Bernama