Diamond Holidays Go Down

By | Category: Travel news, Travel rumblings

Barely a week into the new year and we have our first travel company collapse. Diamond Holidays of Swansea have collapsed after over 40 years in business. Don’t get confused. There are 2 other similarly named companies and they are completely unaffected. It is only the company based in Swansea that has gone into administration. Already though, I have heard of two companies who have expressed interest in buying them. It is early in the year for any tour operators to go bust; they normally last through this key booking period to see how sales go so this is unusual. If you have holidays or day trips booked with them how will you fare since they hold no ATOL bond?
Diamond Holidays, also trading as Brian Isaac Coaches moved about 80,000 customers per year. They did have insurance taken out with the Association of Bonded Travel Organisation Trust (ABTOT) so those of you with holidays may be OK for a refund. ABTOT or Travel & General Insurance (who handle the insurance side) will be contacting all those concerned. The problem comes with those taking day trips, the sort where the coach takes you to York races for the day, a shopping complex or a historic town. It is unclear if these are covered, say the administrators, and they will add news on this when they have looked at it. Those people also not covered are those that have booked since the start of the new year since it may be the case that the insurance doesn’t cover this year. But if you have booked since January 1 and don’t receive a letter contact ABTOT anyway. Their website is www.abtot.com.
Why has Diamond Holidays gone bust given they say sales have risen by 15%? One reason suggested is the price of fuel which looks only likely to increase as oil prices rise and the April tax rise of fuel takes effect. But they have recently spend millions on new coaches. Is there a cash flow issue? Have they breached their bank loans limit? Did the banks pull the plug? As I said earlier, this is an unusual time to go bust so it will be interesting to see what the liquidators think is the reason.
Once again, though, this reminds all of us of the problems with the current bonding system and the lack of uniformity for travellers be they domestic or overseas ones. At least Diamond was a member of an insurance or bonding scheme. ABTOT has about 76 members and provides cover for those companies not bonded by the ATOL scheme. Still is this a substitute for being ATOL bonded? In some ways, yes particularly for those companies whose primary business is domestic travel like Diamond’s. All we travelers can hope for is that when the UK or EU finally get their acts together, one scheme will help protect all travelers.

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