Julio Delgado, CEO of La Manga Club, said:
“We are naturally sorry to hear of the collapse in the UK of Barwell Travel and a little surprised to hear the reasons given, which have been attributed to Jeremy Scott, the managing director of Leisurefare, which bought Barwell in 2008.
“Barwell Travel was just one of dozens of travel partners across Europe selling packages to La Manga Club, but it was a struggling entity when Leisurefare acquired it in 2008. Leisurefare obviously felt they could turn it around in difficult trading times but have failed to do so.
“It is true that fewer airlines are flying to Murcia currently than in previous years, but that is indicative more of the current economic climate rather than any other trading factor. Most people fly into the region through Alicante airport, which is actually undergoing an expansion programme to cope with increased demand.
“It is clear that Barwell has been struggling to sell packages to La Manga Club for some years now - and in fact diversified its portfolio several years ago in an attempt to combat this - but our occupancy rates and the success of dozens of other travel partners across the continent suggest the problem does not lie with the resort. They are continuing to trade successfully to the mutual benefit of all involved.
“Indeed, our first-quarter figures show a significant increase, probably as a result of improvements in the quality of the resort’s facilities. Significant investments have been made - for example we have created a new children and families’ programme, Funlandia, which has proved immensely popular and includes swimming lessons, dance classes, synchronised swimming, flamenco lessons, and jewellery and clay workshops.
“In addition, there are plans to start improvement works on the South Course; La Manga Club is still the preferred venue for many top golf events, including Ladies European Tour qualifying; and we are bidding to become the host resort for the 2015 Solheim Cup.
“La Manga Club also entered into a partnership with the Preferred Hotel Group, an exclusive collection of 700 of the world’s most distinguished hotels and resorts, at the tail end of 2009 - all indications of a successful, burgeoning resort.
“While it is true that La Manga Club is currently under a voluntary creditors’ arrangement overseen by administrators, this is not ‘administration’ in the sense used in the UK. It is more akin to the Chapter 11 protection in the USA, where the company can continue to trade - and in the case of La Manga Club achieve financial buoyancy to the benefit of all, so much so that in the near future we will be able to announce the resort will be out of ‘administration’.
“We are concerned to learn that guests whose holidays have been booked with Barwell may face difficulties and we will work with them and do our utmost to advise and assist with their arrangements.
“The fallout for consumers means that they will simply not be able to book packages through the sadly-defunct Barwell Travel. It does not mean they will not be able to visit La Manga Club. On the contrary: they will find La Manga Club is thriving and that packages may be booked through dozens of other agencies.”