UPDATED: CAA steps in after Dreamticket.com ceases trading

UPDATED: CAA steps in after Dreamticket.com ceases trading

The collapse of Dreamticket.com parent company Selsdon Travel has left 600 holidaymakers abroad and 4,000 forward bookings, according to the Civil Aviation Authority.

The long haul direct sell operator featured holidays to the Indian Ocean, Middle East, Far East, Africa and Caribbean and held a licence to cover 17,000 passengers. The CAA through the ATOL scheme is making arrangements for people abroad to complete their holidays and return to the UK, and to fully refund those with forward bookings.

Those overseas will be in possession of scheduled airline tickets, which will remain valid. “Passengers are therefore advised to go to the airport as ticketed to return to the UK,” the authority.

But it warned that travellers may be required by the hotels to repay for their stay. “If this is the case, passengers must ensure that they are provided with a clear receipt for the payment, which will be required in order to make a claim for a refund of the payment upon return to the UK,” the CAA said.

Dreamticket.com owner Selsdon Travel has ceased trading yesterday despite promise of investment from a new backer just three months ago. It was reported in March that private equity investor Hatfield Investments had bought a majority shareholding in the long-haul online specialist and call centre.

Selsdon was said to be the first of about 20 travel firms Hatfield was looking to invest in and as part of the deal its chief executive, Levy Benarroch, became chief executive and his wife, Lynne, managing director.

At the time of the deal Benarroch said: “Hatfield Investments will use its expertise in technology, sales and online marketing to catapult Selsdon Travel into the top-20 travel companies in the UK.

“We have a robust strategic plan and, combined with the outstanding skills of all the staff at Dreamticket in Croydon, and other locations, we anticipate a very bright future for Dreamticket.”

Dreamticket’s business development manager, Addas Datoo, son of former chief executive Nazma Datoo, who left as part of the Hatfield deal, said at the time:
“Hatfield Investments will give Dreamticket access to significant additional funding and will allow the company to explore new opportunities and potential acquisitions within the industry.

“We are also excited about the developments that we will be seeing in our technology and marketing strategy as a result of this acquisition.”

The firm is understood to turn over about £35 million and had just under 4,500 forward bookings. In 2008 it was included in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 that listed the UK’s fastest-growing technology companies.

Dreamticket is the third-biggest UK operator to the Maldives and it specialised in the Indian Ocean and destinations in the Middle East such as Dubai. It was an Atol holder and Abta member and was also an Iata agent.

Dreamticket.com was set up by chief executive Lawrence Hunt, now a director at Lowcost Travel Group, and commercial director Jo Rzymowska, who is now Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s UK general manager. The company ceased operating in 2001 and Selsdon acquired the domain name in 2002.

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