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FTI’s developments | Limited impact of its bankruptcy on the Greek market | Greek experts’ and the market’s assessments


The bankruptcy of FTI raises concern among the Greek tourism market, at least until the assessment of the consequences is done, bringing back memories of the previous bankruptcy of a major tour operator, that of Thomas Cook, in September 2019, which created significant shocks in the domestic tourism industry. However, the exposure of Greek hotels to FTI appears to be quite limited, compared to that to Thomas Cook, with early signals being reassuring.

According to reports from the Ministry of Tourism and the Greek National Tourism Organization, the holiday packages of visitors from Germany to our country by this company have already been paid or prepaid, so the risk of non-payment of hoteliers and other businesses involved has been avoided.

According to the same sources, the number of travellers in Germany is estimated at 7 500. These travellers will be able to complete their holidays and return to Germany as normal without being affected by the bankruptcy of FTI. The main volume of FTI’s customers was directed 70 % to Crete and Rhodes, 20 % to Corfu and Kos and the remaining 10 % or so to the rest of the country.

The same number of tourists -7,500, who stay in about 250 hotels-, says the president of the Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers, Yannis Hatzis, in a post on social media, with information attributed to the tour operator himself.


In more detail, in his post Mr.Hatzis said: “According to an update from FTI, currently 7,500 tourists in about 250 hotels are in the country. We understand the anxiety of our colleagues and recommend calmness. We are closely monitoring developments. In the next period we will be able to have a clearer picture.”

In an update on the handling of FTI’s bankruptcy, the Ministry of Tourism and the Greek National Tourism Organisation (EOT) says: “Contacts have already been made by the EOT Germany office, while EOT officials are in contact with the Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers (POX) and the FTI representative in Greece. In the event that individual problems and incidents of malfunction are identified, the services of the Ministry and the Tourism Organisation are on standby and coordinated in order to contribute immediately to their effective response. It should be noted that FTI is insured against insolvency through the German Travel Insurance Fund (DRFS). According to the information provided by the Association of German Travel Agents (DRV) and the official announcement by FTI, this means that payments made – including the price of the trip if it has already been paid, as well as advance payments – are protected in the event of insolvency. This applies to customers who have booked a holiday package’.

As stated in the update, DRSF is now responsible for processing in the event of insolvency, in close cooperation with the affected organiser. This means that the DRSF is responsible, on the one hand, for the refund of the travel price paid to the affected customers and, on the other hand, for any necessary repatriation of visitors.

Grigoris Tasios – president of the Halkidiki Hotel Association


Speaking about the impact of FTI’s insolvency on the hotels of Halkidiki, the president of the Halkidiki Hoteliers Association and former president of POX, Mr. Grigoris Tasios, says that the exposure of the region’s hotels to FTI is quite limited – about 10% of the capacity of the 30 or so hotels that had an agreement. “The truth is that in April the 2023 debts were paid off and there was a new agreement for summer arrivals to be discounted. So May ended with no balance. Of course, we are alert,” Tasios notes, optimistic that the losses from the collapse of the German tour operator in Halkidiki tourism will not be significant, especially in September and October, during the low season, where FTI had a dynamic presence.

But the fact is that the loss of the third largest tour operator from the market will have developments and implications in terms of competition, in view of the new contracts for 2025, as, he says, “as long as the big players shrink, there will be difficulties in negotiations, both in terms of prices and rooms”.

Kostas Kumis – Deputy Minister of Tourism of Cyprus

In a statement by the Deputy Minister of Tourism of Cyprus, Mr. Costas Koumis, regarding the insolvency of the German tour operator FTI, he said: “We have been informed that the large and historic tourism group FTI has filed an insolvency petition with the German authorities as a consequence of the financial losses it has been recording in recent years. The financial problems of this group were well known to the tourism community, although last April hopes were raised that the problems would be smoothed out as a result of the possible entry of a well-known American consortium of investors into the group. However, for a number of reasons this did not end positively. This is definitely a negative development for tourism in our country, as it comes at a time when we were trying to strengthen the German market and additionally because every loss now counts due to the pressures on the hotel industry in general. It is important to note that the volume of losses in terms of total arrivals for tourism in our country is not particularly large. However, it is certainly a serious loss for the hotel companies that have been working with this tour operator. We are in contact with the hotelier associations, and together we are making an accurate assessment and management of the situation”.

The hoteliers of Rhodes

It is worth noting that the Rhodes Hoteliers Association, closely monitoring the developments concerning the sector, had informed the Ministry of Tourism and all other hotelier associations of the possibility of insolvency of the FTI group in good time from 20 March, so that everyone can take measures to avoid the consequences as in the case of Thomas Cook’s bankruptcy.

The international market assessments

The bankruptcy of FTI is top news throughout Europe, occupying not only the press and those involved in the tourism-hotel industry, but also the press in general.

Morgann Lesné from investment bank Cambon Partners, responsible for mergers and acquisitions in the travel sector, comments: “Most people thought FTI was too big to fail and therefore would not have foreseen what has happened today. Right now many of these B2B suppliers will urgently need to confirm their reporting and legal status – they can guess, but it may take days to come up with an absolute number. We shouldn’t completely discount the company, however, as it is very likely that a white knight will come along to save the company or even the German government, which has a lot to lose from this. Certainly in terms of its strong asset base we will quickly see interested parties for its extensive business activities.”

“Meanwhile, FTI’s competitors will be conducting rapid analysis to see if they can capture its customer base – watch out for lots of talk about this publicly through targeted advertising and PR, as well as with investors. Perhaps even in the next 24 hours, things are moving fast in these situations as there is so much at stake,” concludes Mr Lesné .

For his part, Sami Doyle, managing director of TMU Management, a data-driven insurance intermediary specialising in travel, comments: “Very sad to see the news about FTI, but it was known to have been under some pressure for some time. The circumstances of its failure, despite recent investment, do however raise some questions. Most importantly, does it really serve the travel suppliers to put pressure on payment terms knowing that online travel agencies and tour operators will find it difficult to pass on those terms to their customers? Online travel agencies and tour operators are rightly criticised, but the huge pressures associated with managing consumers and their money are overlooked.”

According to him, regulators should have stepped in to provide assurances and insurance cover for the supply chain should have been provided. If this had been done with proper communication the problem could have been avoided.

Koert Grasveld from Terrapay, a specialist in B2B travel payments, says, for his part: “Travel agencies and travel operators everywhere are under huge and ever-increasing pressure to advance payments to hotel chains, individual property owners and many other service providers – this will no doubt have played a big part in today’s news. Right now everyone in the FTI B2B ecosystem-whether it’s actual travel service providers, travel agents selling their packages, or more simply B2B distributors and technology partners-will all be trying to understand their financial burden, but even more importantly understand the protections they have.”

“Those who use virtual credit cards for transactions with FTI will find that they have much more protection than anyone using old-fashioned bank transfers – certainly anyone using prepaid virtual cards, as no fictitious money will have been loaded onto the card if the service has not yet been used/no payment is expected. Even those who are confident of financial protection could however find themselves facing some very busy weeks, with refund requests and chargebacks issued on the consumer side, resulting in huge volumes of administrative work, unless they have modern, automated systems in place. If COVID wasn’t a wake-up call, then perhaps this is about making sure travel companies invest in robust B2B payment technology,” adds Grasveld.

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