Tour operator collapse stokes fears of repeat of last year

Tour operator collapse stokes fears of repeat of last year

Mediterranean specialist Holiday Options has gone into administration after 16 years, as the latest report from the Office of National Statistics reported a 14 percent slump in UK outbound travel.

The company was Atol-bonded and no British holidaymakers have been left stranded.

All 1,100 forward bookings have been taken over by Light Blue Travel, a Cambridge-based operator.

The collapse follows a report the Office of National Statistics this week reporting that British outbound travellers in the year to September fell 14 per cent to 60.8 million.

This month travel industry analyst, Plimsoll Publishing, forecast that up to 300 British tour operators could collapse or be taken over in the next year. Meanwhile consumers remain nervous of a repeat of last year’s travel bankruptcies when thousands were left stranded abroad by the collapse of XL and Zoom.

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More than 30 airlines have collapsed this year, but International Passenger Protection, a leading insurer, claims this number could rise over the festive period owing to rising fuel prices, increased Air Passenger Duty and the wider global recession.

According to the latest ONS Overseas Travel and Tourism Statistical Bulletin, inbound travel to the UK fell 9% or three million to 29.9 million year-on-year.

Meanwhile business trips by UK residents abroad fell 16% in the period. Overall visits abroad in the peak summer quarter between July and September fell one percent to 14.7 million.