Turkey Specialist Collapses

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel news

Yesterday evening’s news bulletins all carried the story about the collapse of Holidays 4 UK, the Turkish holiday specialist company that trades under the names of Holidays4U and Aegean Flights. This is no small company and it was concentrating on a growth area, Turkey. So what has gone wrong?
Before I try and answer that, let me repeat previous comment in CD-Traveller about what to do if you are one of the unfortunate 50,000 who had booked to go with this company. Contact the CAA, download the form and submit it. The company was ATOL bonded so those that booked a package holiday should receive their money back though it is hard to see it taking less a few months at the earliest and means that if you want a summer holiday you will need to find the money yourself. For those on holiday, you can complete it and you will be flown back. If your hotel or accommodation provider demands an additional payment, the advice is to pay it and claim it back. If you can’t pay, I would contact the British Consulate and seek their support. Theoretically they can do little but their support in a conversation with the local hoteliers group has proved helpful in the past. Hoteliers will be paid under the bonding scheme. It goes without saying that you should check your travel insurance and if you aren’t covered against a tour operator collapse, make sure you select a policy that does protect you in the future.
The company was bonded for 147,000 people meaning it could take on holiday that number. That is a lot of people to just one destination, so it shows how important it was to the Turkish holiday market. Secondly our appetite for Turkish holidays has jumped enormously over the last few years as, being outside the eurozone, holidays there have been cheaper. So in a growing area why did the company go bust? In some ways it was down to us. We seek cheap holidays and, to deliver, the holiday industry pares its profit to the bone, often less than 2% at the cheapest end of the market. It means those companies that operate in this market are vulnerable to any downturn in bookings, increases in prices or delays. Companies have also not been helped by the growth of last minute bookings. It means they walk a tightrope because they have to contract hotels sometimes a year away.
We reported a few weeks ago at the start of the summer season that Simon Calder of The Independent had found some holidays at prices that hadn’t been seen for many years. And for August. Rather than close down, some tour operators cut and cut prices to attract us. The big companies aren’t immune. When Thomas Cook announced its fall in profits earlier this week and the departure of its chief executive it said that it had few holidays left to sell and that prices had risen by 4%. Despite that they suffered from market conditions and our strengthening preference for last minute bookings in the hope of getting a bargain.
All those who booked with an ATOL bonded agent did the “correct” thing. But that doesn’t stop the sadness of not getting a holiday at the time they thought they would have it.

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