Thomas Cook Collapse: The Cause, Effects, and Implication on the Gambian Economy
The shutdown of the Thomas Cook Airline Limited has rocked the world’s tourism sector, but none are as unpleasantly shocked as the industrious people of The Gambia.
In this piece, we’re going to take a closer look at what Thomas Cook’s Collapse mean to the Gambian economy, what was the cause and what could be the possible Implication in terms of the economy.
The Gambia is a beautiful country with an estimated population of 2,051,363. Commonly referred to as “the smiling coast of Africa,” the Gambia is surrounded by Senegal, but it’s peaceful, sunny and aesthetic environment has made it an ideal location for tourists, vacationers, and business investors.
It is thus, unsurprising that this sector accounts for 30% of the country’s GDP.
The month of October brings The Gambia an influx of foreigners, seeking adventure, relaxation, and cultural/historical exposition. But for this to happen, international airlines and travel agencies have an essential role to play in seeing that the preparations of the locals do not go to waste.
Thomas Cook Airlines Limited was a British airline with its headquarters located in Manchester, England. It provided such services as Charters and Scheduled leisure flights to eighty-two locations around the world – including The Gambia.
For many years, the airline has provided safe transport for Europeans to the African country. It is providing satisfactory business opportunities and economic prosperity for the country and its citizens and pleasurable vacation experiences for tourists. According to the country’s records, at least 50% of the country’s tourists, especially the Europeans, are brought by the now-defunct airline.
It, therefore, goes without saying that the announcement of its seizure of operations spells untold hardship for them in this already trying period.
According to local business owners, an estimate of 57,000 tourists had made hotel reservations, as well as alternative accommodations; but with the shut-down of the airline, most of these reservations will now be canceled.
What brought about this unexpected shut-down of the airlines’ affairs? According to reports, Thomas Cook has been declared bankrupt. And as a result, faces liquidation, accounting for the sudden halt in its relations, leaving thousands of customers and business owners in the lurch – confused.
Tensed, and panicking, the locals have implored the government to take urgent steps to salvage the situation.
For now, the steps taken by the Gambian government are not clear. But reports of an Emergency Risks Assessment meeting held by Gambia Tourism Board is being circulated. However, the results of said meetings, as well as the resolutions, are yet to be exposed to the public.
For his part, the Chief Executive of Thomas Cook Airlines Limited (Peter Fankhauser) while speaking on the company’s shut-down, apologized to their stranded customers and laid-off staff for the inconveniences resulting from the company’s actions. He stated that the steps of the company are a “matter of profound regret.”
No doubt, these words, though elegant and acceptable, will in no way solve or alleviate the imminent disaster bound to erupt in The Gambia. Many of the citizens of this country rely on the profits gained in the tourist season to pay off debts, feed, pay bills, and survive. Hence, the statement of the Chief Executive, though appreciated, mean nothing to the local business owners and investors in this country.
There is also the matter of the country’s economy, relying heavily on the profits gotten from each tourist’s season. As more than half of the expected crowd eliminated, it is likely that the standard of living in this country will drastically increase.
Hence, news of foreclosures, bankruptcy, starvation, tales of absconding debtors, deaths, and suicides are bound to litter the Gambian airwaves very soon. There is still attached to be a negative backlash that will affect every single citizen of the country, rich or poor.
The possibility of a security decline in the country, resulting in a rise in crime exists; as desperate individuals are bound to explore alternative means of income to survive and provide for their dependents.
In sum, dark and trying times color the horizon of the future of The Gambia’s economic standing and well-being.
A lot rides on the government’s ability to prove resourceful in taking decisive but intelligent steps to save its economy as well as the businesses of its citizenry and investors. Thus, mitigating the hardship of its people and ensuring the country’s survival to the next tourist season.