Travelscope administrators fear rescue deal may come too late

Administrators for collapsed company Travelscope are in talks with interested parties to save the operator but fear the Christmas holidays may delay a solution until it is too late.

Paul Clark, Andrew Stoneman and Phil Duffy, of Menzies Corporate Restructuring, have been appointed joint administrators.

Since the company’s collapse on Friday, they have investigated whether the company and holidays booked beyond January 2 can be salvaged.

All bookings before January 2 have been cancelled but departures after that date remain uncertain.

There are 10,000 customers booked to travel with Travelscope over the Christmas and New Year period.  A total of 30,000 had already booked for 2008, while it has been revealed that a further 5,000 had also booked for 2009.

Speaking to travelweekly.co.uk, Clark said most holidaymakers were likely to have rearranged their holidays with alternative operators for next year if a rescue deal was not thrashed out as imminently.

He said: "There are certain parties interested in parts of the business but most are coming back to us in the New Year. We are ready, willing and able - my fear is that the public will not wait."

Most of those booked for 2008 and 2009 have only paid a deposit on their holidays rather than the full amount.

However, the Van Gogh cruise ship on which Travelscope had 460 customers booked to go on a three-month round the world cruise on January 4 looks set to go ahead thanks to a deal by the administrators with the cruise ship owner and ABTA. Of the 460 booked, 20 customers were booked through independent travel agents. Clark was hopeful the trip would now go ahead and that 450 of the 460 customers would still travel.

Other Travelscope passengers have been told they will be able to claim a refund. Passengers with bookings that include a flight will be able to claim a refund under the ATOL financial protection scheme from the Civil Aviation Authority, while ABTA is covering other bookings.

For ATOL claims go to www.caa.co.uk. All other enquires should be directed to ABTA’s claims handling partner CEGA on 01243 621 500 or email abtaclaims@cegagroup.com or visit www.abta.com. Claim forms are due to be sent out to holidaymakers with seven to 10 working days but may be delayed because of Christmas.

Meanwhile, Travelscope staff are due to be told their fate in January. Clark said: "There will be redundancies."

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