One of the biggest shocks in the travel industry came with the closing down of cruising giant All Leisure Holidays. The company has left 400 people stranded abroad and cancelled 7,000 holidays leaving the British public highly disappointed. However, those affected should note that the company is ATOL protected which means that customers would be refunded for the cancellation of the trip even when the travel company stops trading. There are 13,000 people who have bookings with the giant cruise holiday maker.
The shutdown of the company has resulted in 150 people being unemployed and damaged the reputation of its branded cruise lines Swan Hellenic and Voyages of Discovery. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has been confirmed to sort out the matter. The 400 people stranded abroad are being flown back after All Leisure Holidays stopped trading abruptly. Around 60 people who booked back to back cruises were the hardest hit as their second trip also got cancelled due to them being flown back home.
The Chairman of the company Roger Allard apologised to its customers by saying that “I am personally very sad and I apologise to everyone affected, but you can’t keep putting more and more money into a bottomless hole when it’s not working and you can’t control things that are thwarting your efforts.” He added that “Swan Hellenic and Voyages of Discovery dealt in cruises for more mature guests to cultural and iconic destinations like the eastern Mediterranean, North Africa and the Black Sea where there are lots of sights.”
Roger Allard continued “But increasingly over the last few years, since the Arab Spring, it has been increasingly difficult to operate to these areas, either because of Foreign Office advice or a dampening of demand from consumers to travel to certain areas where we specialised. It was difficult, but you hope things will get better. But then Brexit happened. The impact of that was on currency which was another blow. It was the exchange rate that became the issue for us. And the weaker pound, when all our costs are in dollars, Euros and other local currencies. It was impossible to keep going.”
He ended by saying that “In the last 18 months, the pound has dropped 20% against the dollar and 14% against the euro, so it was a truly unfortunate perfect storm.”
Reacting to the situation Andy Cohen, head of ATOL at the CAA, said: “We understand this will be concerning news for anyone who has booked to travel with the company”.
“However, the ATOL scheme exists for exactly this kind of situation and we are making immediate arrangements so all ATOL-protected customers can claim full refunds as quickly as possible.”
This nerve numbing incident brings out the importance of ATOL and emphasises on the fact that while booking with a travel company, you should check whether it is ATOL protected or not. The ATOL scheme protects customers if their travel company collapses at any given point of time.
Another big thing which was brought forth by the incident is that Brexit has proved quite heavy on UK businesses and customers. First, the collapse of GB Energy and now All Leisure Holidays, businesses are failing due to changes in the macro environment.
Shay Ramani, the founder of leading price comparison website FreePriceCompare.com expressed his views on this incident by saying that “It is unfortunate that a cruising giant like All Leisure Holidays had to shut down. It will hugely impact the holiday makers and thousands of customers that have bookings with them. However, as the company is ATOL protected, there is good hope that customers would not suffer by any means. This is a big lesson suggesting that customers should check for ATOL protection while booking their holidays. Along with their travel insurance, ATOL protection should be checked so as to combat such unpredictable events.”
To conclude, people who are planning travel trips should check for ATOL protection and have a strong travel insurance policy in place such in case the unfortunate should occur.
If you find it difficult to compare travel providers then we can help you find the most suitable yet affordable holiday makers. You can leverage our free, impartial and independent comparison services by checking our website on https://freepricecompare.com/insurance/travel-insurance/ or call our friendly team of insurance experts on 02034757476.