Wed, 03 Feb 2021 | ADMINISTRATION
West London-based tour operator Tucan Travel, which has been in business for 33 years, has fallen into administration due to the “severe impact” of COVID-19. The company offered trips to worldwide destinations, but specialised in travel to South America.
Tucan had initially suspended holidays in March 2020, but had continued selling trips for 2021 onward. However, due to the continuing impact of COVID-19, which has led to an influx of customer cancelling bookings and demanding refunds, it has ceased trading with immediate effect.
In a statement, the company said: “The coronavirus pandemic has had a severe impact on many businesses in particular the travel industry.”
The statement went on to say: “There is unlikely to be any normal international leisure travel until 2022 and so with a heavy heart, the decision was taken in the best interests of everyone concerned to place the company into administration.”
As a result of the administration, all staff will be made redundant. Customers with existing bookings have been told they will be contacted with details regarding making a claim for any payments made.
In the statement, Chief Executive Matt Gannan highlighted the issue of providing refunds to customers as particularly damaging, with the business not generating money and payments already made to partners including airlines, local services and hotels.
Gannan said: “Many of these service contracts are non-refundable or non-transferable. In addition, many of the smaller overseas hotels and service providers that specialist tour operators support are in an even worse situation, they simply do not have the resources to repay what is owed to tour operators until they are able to reopen their business and earn money again.”
Given this dire situation in the travel industry, many more firms could be on the brink of collapse, especially once government financial support packages are withdrawn. According to travel industry body Abta, at least 20 travel companies with operations in the UK collapsed between March and October 2020.
Abta Chief Executive Mark Tanzer asserted that the government had failed to provide “basic tools” to boost consumer confidence in the travel industry and warned that many more firms could fail.
Among the travel businesses to collapse as a result of the pandemic have been established brands such as STA Travel, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, coach holiday group National Holidays and ski operators Ski Weekends and VIP Ski.
James Chapple, Deputy News Editor at travel industry publication TTG, commented: “It speaks of the severity of the circumstances facing the industry that the pandemic is claiming wholly viable businesses, ones that have been successful over a great many years, that have been left in limbo by the political torpor in Westminster.”
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