Specialist Leisure Group which includes leading coach companies Shearings and National Holidays has gone into administration with thousands of job losses and cancelled booking.
The Group had over 64,000 bookings, the vast majority of which were coach package holidays. All package holiday bookings are financially protected so customers with these bookings will receive a full refund, with coach packages protected by the Confederation of Passenger Transport. Shearings also offered a small number of flight package holidays which are ATOL protected and will be processed by the CAA.
The collapse of such well-established and well-loved travel brands will come as a shock to many.
Shearings had been providing holidays to the UK public for over 100 years with its roots traced back to 1903. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is believed to be the main reason behind the collapse of the Group, as it struggled to provide thousands of refunds for cancelled holidays while new bookings ground to a halt.
In a statement, the administrator Ernst Young said it had tried to find a buyer to maintain the travel group as a going concern but that it had not been possible.
It added that “the vast majority of customers” were expected to have financial protection from one of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, Bonded Coach Holidays, ATOL or ABTA, or through their credit or debit card issuer.
John de Vial, Abta’s director of membership and financial services, said:
“Today is a very sad day for these customers and the thousands of staff who will have lost their jobs.
“The fact that two such well-known brands with a loyal customer base have had to call in administrators is a stark indication of the pressure that the holiday industry is under as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Abta has repeatedly highlighted to the government the urgency of the situation and the need to set out a co-ordinated strategy with clearer communication if it wants to help avoid significant job losses and support companies to weather the storm.”