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Portugal sets aside 150 million euros to offer credit to firms hit by Thomas Cook collapse

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LISBON (Reuters) – The Portuguese government has earmarked 150 million euros ($164 million) worth of credit to help local companies affected by the collapse of British travel firm Thomas Cook, the cabinet said on Friday.

Each firm is eligible for up to 1.5 million euros of credit and can apply for a loan by calling a purpose-set helpline.

Portugal was little affected by cancellations of Thomas Cook flights but the tourist-packed Algarve region fears hotel bills will be left unpaid as the holiday season draws to an end.

In a statement, the government said it will also make available 2.25 million euros specifically to help the Algarve region in southern Portugal and the island of Madeira cope with the collapse.

The statement said those two regions were the most affected, but provided no details.

The cash will be used by those areas to try and generate holiday demand from the UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, Ireland, Poland and Nordic markets, the government said.

Tourism bodies will meet on Saturday to assess the situation and decide on next steps.

(Reporting by Catarina Demony; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Elaine Hardcastle)

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