Tour operator Tucan Travel goes bust after 33 years

Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent
·2-min read

Tour operator Tucan Travel has collapsed into administration due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The west London-based firm specialised in trips to South America and has ceased trading with immediate affect after operating for 33 years.

Administrators Begbies Traynor said it will contact the 850 customers with existing bookings to inform them how they can get their money back.

The majority of holidays sold by Tucan Travel were non-flight packages financially protected by the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust, according to travel trade organisation Abta.

Tucan Travel chief executive Mark Gannan said it was a “truly devastating day for the business” and paid tribute to the “loyal, long-serving staff who will be losing their jobs”.

He went on: “We have had to make difficult decisions to keep the business operational throughout the Covid crisis, including many staff redundancies and suspending tour operations in March last year.

“But with little prospect of a return to normal international leisure travel on the horizon, the challenge has sadly proven too great and, with a heavy heart, the decision was taken to place the company into administration.”

The company said in a statement there has been “no satisfactory solution” for how tour operators can cope with the number of customers demanding full refunds for cancellations.

Gareth Prince, a partner at corporate recovery firm Begbies Traynor, commented: “It is always sad to see a once thriving business succumb to administration, especially when there are job losses involved.

“The travel industry has borne the brunt of the pandemic and despite taking a number of difficult decisions to mitigate the worst impacts of the crisis, the company has been unable to withstand overwhelming financial pressure.”

Abta said in October 2020 that at least 20 travel companies with UK operations had gone bust since March of that year.

These include STA Travel, Specialist Leisure Group – which ran brands such as coach operator Shearings – and Cruise & Maritime Voyages.

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer warned that more firms could fail as he accused the Government of failing to provide “basic tools” to help consumer confidence.

Last week, vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi told BBC Breakfast on Tuesday it was “too early” for people to think about summer holiday plans.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday he was “optimistic” people will be able to enjoy a summer holiday this year, provided the disease can be kept under control.