HomeTravelPlans of holiday makers across Europe in disarray after German travel company...

Plans of holiday makers across Europe in disarray after German travel company collapse

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The travel planes of thousands of holiday makers across Europe including people in Ireland are in disarray following the collapse of a leading German tour operator earlier this week.

FTI, which is the third largest tourism operator in Germany with around 200 subsidiaries, shocked the leisure travel sector when went into liquidation on Monday after a refinancing deal collapsed.

The initial filing involved FTI’s tour operator brand, but it warned that “corresponding applications will be filed for other group companies”.

One of its subsidiaries is the UK-based YouTravel which supplies accommodation to multiple travel agents in Ireland as well as online travel agents which have a significant footprint here, including LoveHolidays.

All accommodation bookings made via YouTravel until later this month have been cancelled while customers already in destinations overseas are being asked to pay the hotel directly for their stay.

In a statement on its website, YouTravel said that “it goes without saying that this has an impact on Youtravel.com. For arrivals until June 14th (inclusive), we have taken to the decision to cancel to avoid guests arriving and not having a booking or being asked to pay again whilst we navigate through these challenging times.”

The UK travel company LoveHolidays which does a significant amount of business in the Republic, posted an update on its website which said that “a very small portion of our customers’ accommodation arrangements will be affected. However, we’re working hard to honour these bookings with other suppliers to minimise disruption to any holidays.”

It advised people with upcoming holidays that “there is nothing you need to do. Our team is working hard to honour any impacted bookings with another partner to make sure your holiday goes ahead as seamlessly as possible.”

Paul Hackett of Irish-based online travel agency Click&Go said his staff had been “been working flat out” since Tuesday to secure all bookings.

“We have been making payments direct to hotels where the hotel says they need payment from us or they seek payment direct from the customer,” he said.

He added that there was a team of people working on the issue and “to date our clients are all fine. We are rebooking at extra costs and not passing that on, we are paying hotels direct, and we are doing all we can to minimise the impact on our customers”.

He said one customer, who had not yet travelled had to move to a different hotel, 700m from the original hotel as the booking was cancelled by YouTravel and when Click&Go went to reconfirm it, the hotel had resold the room.

“Any other bookings we have are re-protected and we absorbed the additional cost,” he said.

In response to queries from The Irish Times a spokesman from the Irish Aviation Authority said that its role in relation to customers of travel agents and tour operators “only takes effect when an entity we licence collapses. We do not licence FTI.”

He said that while FTI “may be a supplier to some entities we licence, it is for the seller of the package to resolve in the first instance or if the seller does not do so it would be for the CCPC to engage. We would only have a role if an entity collapsed because of the financial impact of the FTI collapse.”

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