Enjoy Holidays, a travel agent with five high street branches, has gone out of business, blaming a dispute with its Turkish owner.
The company, run by managing director Ronnie Findlay, had branches in Chalfont St Peter and Woburn Sands, Milton Keynes.
It also operated as Allen Sturges Travel in Bedford, where it had two branches, and Flitwick.
In December 2011 Findlay sold the firm to Anex Tourism Group, one of the largest operators in Turkey, to keep the company afloat.
Findlay told Travel Weekly he had been working for weeks to save the firm, but claimed agreements with Anex for him to regain ownership had fallen through.
“I’m extremely sorry to everybody who has been affected by this. This did not need to happen, it’s nothing to do with the trading situation of the business which was good in a difficult year.”
He said he was working with his wife today to try to make sure his 19 staff find future employment and working with Abta and the CAA to make sure its customers can continue with their holidays.
“We have tried everything possible to avoid this happening including entering two agreements to take the business back. I have tried to do everything possible to try to avoid people being affected in this way and, again, I’m deeply sorry.”
Abta confirmed the business had failed and that it was bonded with the association and 80% of its activity was retail. Enjoy also had an Atol licence.
At the time of the sale to Anex Findlay told Travel Weekly: “I’ve been offered seven businesses to buy, all with accumulated debts.
“We should be trying to find solutions for these businesses. The agent is dying a death of a thousand cuts.
“Where is the voice of the industry? Someone has to take some leadership, whether it’s consortia or Abta. Agents need professional advice to get them back on track.”
The firm was particularly hit when the UK’s leading cruise lines started to demand direct payments from customers.
This was said to have seen £2 million of cashflow leave the business, which had an £8 million turnover.
The Anex Tourism Group owns eight aircraft and has annual passenger carryings of one million, mainly offering holidays to Russians travelling to Turkey and other countries worldwide.
Other web-based destination-focused brands Enjoy Holidays owned included, enjoyTurkey, enjoyMalta, enjoyDubai and enjoyNothernCyprus.
It also had enjoyCruise, enjoyLate Deals and a weddings and honeymoons specialist.
On its website it describes itself as a direct sell holiday company offering deals between 30% and 50% cheaper than internet prices.
Travel Weekly was unable to reach Anex for comment.
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