Lowcost customers overseas 'may need to pay in resort for hotels'

Lowcost customers overseas 'may need to pay in resort for hotels'

Nearly 30,000 holidaymakers travelling overseas with Lowcost Travel Group’s collapsed brands have been warned they may need to pay suppliers including hoteliers and transfer companies in resort before claiming money back on insurance policies, credit cards or via the Spanish travel authority.

Around 110,000 booked but yet to travel have been told that it is highly likely they will have to rebook accommodation as their bookings will no longer be valid.

Administrators Smith & Williamson LLP and CMB Partners UK Ltd have been appointed as joint administrators following the company’s failure today (Friday).

It said the group ceased trading after “exhaustive attempts” by the group's directors to rescue the group, which had been “hampered by the recent and ongoing turbulent financial environment”.

A statement on the company's website said all flights for those currently in resorts have been paid for and customers will be able to fly home when their holidays are over. Administrators confirmed there are approximately 27,000 customers in resorts and 110,000 forward bookings.

For customers who are yet to travel, “a small number” will have problems as their flights have not been paid for, while many will have problems with hotel accommodation because rooms have not been paid for.

Smith & Williamson said the EU referendum, increased competition and terrorism in certain destinations had contributed to the company’s failure.

Partner Finbarr O’Connell said: “The group experienced significant market headwinds in the run up to the EU referendum as holidaymakers delayed decisions. This was compounded by the Leave vote itself and the subsequent fall in value of the pound.

“Regrettably, in these extraordinary conditions, the directors had no option but to place Lowcosttravelgroup Limited into administration.

“While we have not been appointed over the foreign subsidiaries which deal with the group’s customers we are aware that the directors of those companies are making all efforts to put useful and relevant information on the group website to assist customers to understand their individual positions.

“Lane Bednash and I, together with the director of the Spanish travel agency subsidiary, are planning to meet with the appropriate Spanish Regulators and Authorities to investigate what compensation may be available to customers who have lost money due to this collapse.”

The group's subsidiaries in Spain and Switzerland, which ran its travel agency and hotel booking businesses, have also ceased trading. In due course, these companies will be placed into formal insolvency processes.

The group’s turnover in the last year was about £500 million.

The majority of staff in the group have been made redundant with some remaining to assist the administrators in the potential sale of any parts of the group’s business.

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