Tour operator Neckermann has filed for protection against its creditors. The company, severely affected by the corona crisis, wants to avoid bankruptcy. From next Monday, 2 November, 59 holiday shops located across Belgium will close and 180 people will be temporarily unemployed.
Neckermann wants to buy time, now that Belgians don’t travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. If approved, the travel company has three months time to collect fresh money and to make agreements with banks and suppliers.
One year ago, Neckermann already faced troubles after the bankruptcy of British parent company Thomas Cook. Spanish travel organisation Wamos solved the problem with a takeover, allowing dozens of Belgian travel shops to remain open.
The coronavirus pandemic, with lockdowns in different countries, made travelling to and from many countries very difficult or even impossible. As a result, Neckermann’s sales have been reduced to zero, hence the company needs money in the short term in order to continue to exist.
“We are not bankrupt,” Neckermann CEO Laurent Allardin assured in a press release, “the corona crisis is affecting the entire travel industry at its heart. Our sales have been reduced to zero since the second coronavirus wave (editor: that started half of July 2020). And yet the Belgian government is doing nothing to help the tourism sector structurally survive.”
“Tour operators, airlines and travel organisations are all linked. If one major player fails, the first domino of a long chain will fall,” explains Allardin. “and yet I want to emphasise: we are not bankrupt. We need a moment of rest, where we can consider all options, seek support, and then move on.“