Hope for holiday firm customers

SOME customers of failed travel company Travelscope Holidays Ltd, which went into administration shortly before Christmas, may be able to complete their trips.

SOME customers of failed travel company Travelscope Holidays Ltd, which went into administration shortly before Christmas, may be able to complete their trips.

The administrators, from London-based Menzies Corporate Restructuring, have sold part of the companies assets to a new firm, Phoenix Holiday's Ltd, set up by two of Travelscope's former managers.

Travelscope, which specialised in escorted holidays, including ocean and river cruises, short breaks and coach tours, went into administration on December 21.

Its collapse resulted in the cancellation of thousands of breaks over the Christmas and New Year period, although those affected were fully covered by the ABTA and ATOL customer protection schemes.

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Phoenix has no immediate plans to offer holidays by air and so other passengers who have booked flight holidays with Travelscope will also need to claim a refund from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) under the ATOL scheme.

However, Travelscope customers with future bookings which do not involve air travel now have the choice of continuing to seek a refund from ABTA or contacting Phoenix to discuss going ahead with their original holiday or arranging a similar alternative.

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Paul Clark, one of the joint administrators from Menzies, said yesterday that, for legal and confidentiality reasons, specific details of the sale could not be made available.

However, he said: “We are delighted to have completed this sale with Phoenix Holidays. Everyone has worked extremely hard and tirelessly towards realising a satisfactory sale of assets in what has been a very complex acquisition process involving many parties and legal issues including asset title, ownership and restrictions relating to passenger information

“At the time of my appointment, there were approximately 45,000 passengers booked to travel with Travelscope. I hope that Phoenix Holidays can now assist Travelscope passengers with either fulfilling their holidays or offering them an alternative holiday of similar standard.”

Phoenix Holidays has been set up by Darren Parris and Anu Desai, former managers with Travelscope who between them have more than 40 years' experience in the travel trade.

Mr Parris said yesterday: “This announcement means that a large number of Travelscope passengers who have booked a coach holiday or a river cruise can have their holidays fulfilled, and these passengers can look forward to their holiday with renewed peace of mind.

“In the immediate term, however, Phoenix will not be offering any holidays by air and therefore passengers who have booked flight holidays with Travelscope will need to complete a claim form with the Civil Aviation Authority). For holidays which do not involve air travel, passengers may contact Phoenix Holidays.”

He added: “Due to the financial protection in place, Travelscope's passengers may transfer their holidays to Phoenix Holidays by simply assigning their ABTA claim to Phoenix Holidays and accordingly their holiday cost will be the same as that booked with Travelscope. Alternatively, passengers may obtain a refund of monies paid to Travelscope from ABTA.”

Phoenix Holidays can be contacted by calling 08444 129900 or by email to enquiries@phoenixholidays.co.uk. For details of which tours will be operated, travellers can log on to www.phoenixholidays.co.uk.

Travelscope, which was based in Gloucester, operated reader travel offers on behalf of a number of local and regional newspapers, including the East Anglian Daily Times.

Mr Desai said yesterday: “We have been moved by the patience and loyalty shown by Travelscope's customers and are delighted to offer them the opportunity to travel with Phoenix Holidays.

“We have worked closely with the administrator and employees and suppliers of Travelscope to make the assignment of holidays a simple and smooth procedure. We are excited about carrying thousands of customers on the holidays that they have been looking forward to.”

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