Specialist tour operator Oasis Overland has become the latest company to cease trading as a result of the pandemic.

The firm offered small group expeditions by truck across Africa and other destinations such as South America and Central Asia, alongside hotel-based trips in Pakistan, Bolivia, Peru and southeast Asia.

It was a member of Aito – The Specialist Travel Association, and had hoped to operate Africa trips this month.

Jonathan Bryan and Chris Wrede, directors of the adventure travel specialist, said: “We are devastated to be unable to continue to trade. The past 11 months have been extremely tough and the outlook is very bleak for our type of adventure until the world is clear of Covid-19.

“We are very sorry that we could not deliver our adventures as promised, and our thoughts go out to all our clients, loyal UK staff, leaders, drivers and the many local people and businesses around the world that were the bedrock of our adventures.”

The company was established in 1998 and joined Aito, The Specialist Travel Association, in 2008.

Martyn Sumners, Aito executive director, said the team at Oasis Overland were a “valued member of the Aito family and will be much missed”.

He commented: “Oasis Overland had just launched a new and exciting 93-day long trip by truck through Africa, from Nairobi to Johannesburg, but Covid restrictions as a result of the South African variant of the virus meant that it has now had to admit defeat.

“Chris and his team were hugely committed to responsible tourism; delivering positive benefits to local communities through travel and ensuring that any negatives were minimised.”

Oasis Overland is the third Aito member to cease trading amid the pandemic, following Cities Direct, based in Cheltenham, and London-based Tucan Travel.

Sumners added: “It is notable that three Aito specialists have now ceased trading in just the past 12 months due to the pandemic and the lack of sector-specific support from government. This compares with just five Aito members ceasing to trade in the 45 years since Aito was established in 1976.”

A statement on the Oasis Overland website confirms the company has ceased trading and the directors are taking steps to place the company into liquidation.

The statement added: “The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the whole of the travel industry. During this challenging time Oasis Overland have been unable to operate any trips and have had to make some very tough decisions, including redundancies of loyal, long-serving staff and cutting costs wherever possible.

“After 11 months, our resources severely depleted, with no income and the future looking very bleak particularly after recent UK government advice and the prospect of not being able to ‘overland’ through Africa, South America or Asia for many months we have made the decision to cease trading.

“Our thoughts are very much with our loyal ground crew around the world, many of whom will struggle to find work in this current pandemic.

“Our thoughts and appreciation also go to our many hundreds of travellers.

“We would also like to thank and show our appreciation for our many local partners in Africa, Asia and South America.”