Exclusive Escapes boss blames 'toughest year' after collapse

Exclusive Escapes boss blames 'toughest year' after collapse

The managing director of Turkey specialist Exclusive Escapes has cited "two challenging years" after the company ceased trading with immediate effect yesterday.

The luxury operator, based in Richmond, Surrey, also traded as Hidden Turkey and sold villa and hotel packages.

More than 2,000 holidaymakers are being assisted by the Air Travel Organisers Licensing (Atol) protection scheme, following the failure.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it is now working with hoteliers and airlines to allow the 500 Exclusive Escapes customers already abroad to complete their holidays and travel back to the UK as planned.

Managing director of Exclusive Escapes, Andrew Lee, said: “Our immediate thoughts and sympathies lie with the many loyal guests, wonderful hoteliers, property owners and suppliers who are affected, in addition to our unfailingly loyal team both in Turkey and the UK.
 
“It’s no secret that 2015 has been one of the toughest years to date for tourism in Turkey, largely due to the country’s geo-political situation. This comes on the back of two challenging years of trading. 

"Despite this, Exclusive Escapes performed well compared to the general market, but the two months following the atrocity in Tunisia, and then Turkey joining the coalition against Isis together with ensuing events, have had a considerable impact on the market which have sadly proved unmanageable."

The company also had around 1,750 customers with forward bookings. The CAA said Atol protected customers will be contacted in the coming days and informed that their holiday has been cancelled due to the company going into administration. 

All forward bookings were Atol protected and customers will therefore get full refunds.
 
David Clover, head of crisis management at Atol, said: “The collapse of Exclusive Escapes is a timely reminder of why holidaymakers should make sure their holiday is Atol protected and that they receive an Atol certificate, as soon as they’ve booked their trips.

“As a result of the Atol protection scheme, customers of this business have the peace of mind that they will be able to complete their holidays and return home, or get a full refund.

“Sadly, booking an unprotected holiday could leave you out of pocket or stranded abroad if something goes wrong with your travel company.

“So if you are looking for a bargain air holiday at the end of summer sales , it is essential to check to make sure you will get an Atol protection and receive an Atol certificate before you hand over any money.”
 
The CAA advises that all customers returning to the UK should check in with their airline as normal and that flight times will not be affected.

Customers who have paid by credit card and are due to travel should contact their card issuer for a refund. Clients who paid by any other method, including cheque, bank transfer and/or debit card will need to make an Atol claim.

Exclusive Escapes has around 375 guests currently in Turkey.

Further guidance on how to make a claim will be available on the CAA website shortly.

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