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22 May 2020 18:37

Shearings Holidays Administration Coronavirus

Thousands of holidays cancelled as travel group which owns Shearings and National Holidays enters administration

A travel group which owns two of the UK's largest coach holiday operators has collapsed into administration amid the coronavirus pandemic. Specialist Leisure Group have been forced to cancel 64,000 bookings and axe more than 2,500 jobs, Travel Trade organisation Abta said. The group owns a number of coach tour operators, including Shearings and National Holidays - which have also stopped trading. The vast majority of booked trips were coach package holidays which are financially protected, Abta added. A message on the company's website said: "The Specialist Leisure Group entered administration on May 22 2020.

"All tours, cruises, holidays, and hotel breaks booked with the Specialist Leisure Groups have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled. Caledonian Travel, Bay Hotels, UK Breakaways, This is Shearings and National Holidays were all owned by the Specialist Leisure Group and have ceased trading. John de Vial, Abta's director of membership and financial services, said: "The Specialist Leisure Group included two of the UK's best known coach holiday brands, Shearings and National Holidays, two much loved holiday companies who for many years have provided holidays both at home and overseas to a very loyal group of customers. "The fact that two such well-known brands with a loyal customer base have had to call in administrators is a stark indication of the pressure that the holiday industry is under as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. "Abta has repeatedly highlighted to the Government the urgency of the situation and the need to set out a coordinated strategy with clearer communication if it wants to help avoid significant job losses and support companies to weather the storm." Customers who booked a package holiday that included travel by coach or rail with overnight accommodation will have the payment protected by the Bonded Coach Holidays scheme.

Andrew McConnell, spokesman for Atol, which protects packages including flights, said: "This is a particularly sad day for customers and employees of Shearings Holidays Ltd, a long-standing business and well-known UK travel company. "The company specialised in coach packages and other types of holiday bookings, however, there are a small number of consumers with flight-inclusive packages, which will be Atol protected. Thousands of people have had their holidays cancelled after one of the country's biggest coach holiday firms announced it has gone into administration. National Holidays has collapsed meaning all holidays and tours booked with the firm have now been cancelled, reports Hull Live. They "will not be rescheduled", according to parent company Specialist Leisure Group, with travel trade organisation Abta revealing how more than 64,000 bookings have been cancelled with more than 2,500 jobs axed.

The group owns a number of big-name holiday companies, including Shearings, ukbreakaways.com and National Holidays, which takes hundreds of customers in Yorkshire on trips each year. "All tours, cruises, holidays and hotel breaks have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled. For further information, including your options for claiming a refund for your cancelled holiday, please visit the Specialist Leisure Group website. The owner of Europe's largest coach tour operator Shearings Holidays has collapsed into administration. More than 64,000 bookings have been cancelled and around 2,500 jobs lost due to the failure of Specialist Leisure Group (SLG).

Travel trade organisation Abta said the coronavirus pandemic is the main reason for its failure, as it struggled to issue thousands of refunds while new bookings ground to a halt. SLG owned several travel brands, including National Holidays, Wallace Arnold Travel and Bay Hotels. In a statement obtained by Travel Weekly, SLG chief executive Richard Calvert said: "This is a terribly sad day for employees, customers and commercial partners of the Specialist Leisure Group and its subsidiaries which have entered into administration. "In the most trying of circumstances, over these past few months, we have fought tooth and nail to save the group and the jobs of our 2,400 loyal employees serving over 1.1 million customers annually. The vast majority of SLG's cancelled bookings were coach package holidays, which are financially protected under the Bonded Coach Holidays scheme. John de Vial, Abta's director of membership and financial services, said: "The Specialist Leisure Group included two of the UK's best known coach holiday brands, Shearings and National Holidays, two much-loved holiday companies who for many years have provided holidays both at home and overseas to a very loyal group of customers. "The fact that two such well-known brands with a loyal customer base have had to call in administrators is a stark indication of the pressure that the holiday industry is under as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. "Abta has repeatedly highlighted to the Government the urgency of the situation and the need to set out a coordinated strategy with clearer communication if it wants to help avoid significant job losses and support companies to weather the storm." Specialist Leisure Group, which owned Shearings and a number of other travel and hotel brands, announced administrators had been appointed on Friday afternoon. A statement on Shearings' website said: "All tours, cruises, holidays and hotel breaks booked with the Specialist Leisure Group have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled. "The Specialist Leisure Group operated several businesses that sold holidays and other travel arrangements under the following brand names, which have all ceased to trade, due to the impact of Covid-19." Other affected firms include National Holidays, Bay Hotels, Coast and Country Hotels, and Caledonian Travel. The statement says customers with cancelled package holiday bookings are "expected to have financial protection". Information is available on Shearings' website about the next steps for customers to claim a refund. Shearings, which is based on Waterside Drive in Wigan, employed 2,600 people and provided holidays to more than 170 locations across the UK and worldwide. Last month it was reported that Specialist Leisure Group had filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators, though talks were taking place to secure a rescue deal. We thank all our readers and advertisers for their understanding and support - and we wish YOU all the best in the coming weeks. A major holiday company which operates hotels in Scarborough and Whitby and brings tours to the Yorkshire Coast has entered administration. The Group, which operates Shearings Holidays, National Holidays (trading as Caledonian Travel), UK Breakaways, Coast & Country Hotels, Bay Hotels, Country Living Hotels, and Wallace Arnold Travel, has ceased trading with immediate effect. Administrators say All tours, cruises, holidays and hotel breaks booked with the Specialist Leisure Group have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled. The company says it has cease trading due to the impact of COVID-19 Specialist Leisure Group Limited, Shearings Group Limited, Shearings Holidays Limited, Shearings Hotels Limited, Shearings Limited, National Holidays Tours Limited, National Holidays Limited, Wallace Arnold Travel Limited, and UK Breakaways Limited (together 'the Specialist Leisure Group' or 'the Group') have today been placed into Administration and ceased to trade with immediate effect. All tours, holidays and hotel breaks booked with the Group have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled. Specialist Leisure Group is a British hotel and leisure travel company specialising in escorted tours, short breaks, events and river cruises throughout the UK, Europe and worldwide for the over 50s. Headquartered in Wigan the Group employs over 2,400 people across its 44 UK hotels and travel brands. The vast majority of customers are expected to have financial protection from one of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, Bonded Coach Holidays, ATOL or ABTA, or through their credit or debit card issuer. The Administrators say they will also be making every effort to contact customers, whose travel plans have been cancelled as a result of the Administrations or COVID-19, in writing with more information about making a claim. "The Group has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as all tours, trips and events have been cancelled and the hotels closed to the public, leading to a significant cash shortfall.

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