A long-established coach tour operator based in the West Midlands has ceased trading, leaving hundreds of customers facing an anxious wait to see whether they will get their money back for pre-paid holidays and excursions.
Stourbridge-based Group Travel – which holds a Standard International operating licence for two vehicles – has been established for over 30 years, and was regarded as one of the top independent operators in the country.
But last week, just days before they were due to take to the road, would-be travellers received letters from the company stating Group Travel had ceased trading with immediate effect.
Customers were told that the company was taking legal advice from a licensed insolvency practitioner about its financial position.
They were told they would be contacted “in due course” about the procedure for claiming refunds of any money they had paid over.
As well as the jobs of drivers and other staff being lost, hotel groups who have bookings with Group Travel have also lost out to the tune of thousands of pounds.
It is a legal requirement for holiday operators to lodge a bond covering customers whose holidays are cancelled, and in its online brochure, Group Travel states: “Your booking can be made with the confidence that in the unlikely event of the insolvency of the company, all monies paid are fully protected. Travellers going abroad are additionally assured they are fully covered for repatriation to the United Kingdom.”
Group Travel, has long been a well-respected operator in the Black Country and beyond, offering over 200 holidays per year to 70 different destinations. Established in 1982, it specialised in group bookings within the UK, Europe and beyond, along with an extensive selection of day tours.
The company has a fleet of executive coaches with just 42 seats, aimed at creating extra legroom for passengers.
The directors of the company are Paul Stuart Bennett, Nicholas Robin Bennett and Jeremy Mark Cook.