200 holidaymakers stranded as Lidana goes under

Around 200 British holidaymakers have been stranded abroad after London-based Lidana ceased trading today, becoming the second gay tour operator to close this week. Lidana, which operated as Respect Holidays, Sensations Holidays & Alternative Holidays, specialised in direct-sell packages to Spain and Greece, and cited the collapse of XL Group on its demise.About half of the travellers flew out on packages covered by the Civil Aviation Authority’s ATOL scheme. They will be able to continue with their holiday arrangements. There are also nearly 1,000 customers with forward bookings that should obtain a claim form from the CAA.

The failure of Lidana follows on swiftly after that of the XL Group and was partly caused by the majority of their flights being provided by XL Airways. For passengers on package holidays with XL flights, Lidana was legally obliged to place these customers on alternative flights or offer full refunds. The company also sold a number of accommodation-only bookings for which there is no legal obligation to provide financial protection. Many ABTA Members choose to do so voluntarily but Lidana did not.

ABTA says it has been calling on the Government for an urgent radical review of financial protection in the travel industry with currently, only flights sold by tour operators and package holiday providers being required to offer financial protection. Only 56% of air travellers are covered by the ATOL scheme and no statutory protection exists for all single element travel arrangements.

ABTA argues that this is both unfair to tour operators and leaves large numbers of customers travelling without protection. ABTA has also strongly recommended to the European Union that all travel arrangements be protected by law as part of a review of the Package Travel Directive that came into force in the UK in 1992 as the Package Travel Regulations.