The Specialist Leisure Group and subsidiary companies including Shearings, National Holidays and Caledonian Travel entered administration today and have ceased to trade with immediate effect.
The company — the UK’s largest coach holiday business and a household name — blames the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. All tours, holidays and hotel breaks booked with the group have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.
Customers have been advised that if their package holiday tour included travel by coach or rail, or they booked a cruise with overnight accommodation, their holiday “is expected to be covered by The Confederation of Passenger Transport’s Bonded Coach Holidays scheme” or by their credit/debit card issuer. Claims will be accepted on the Bonded Coach Holidays website from Tuesday next week, after the bank holiday weekend.
Besides the coach tour businesses, all Wallace Arnold Travel shops have closed permanently, as have 44 hotels in the group’s Bay, Coast & Country and Country Living chain in England, Scotland and Wales.
Confederation of Passenger Transport chief executive Graham Vidler says this, possibly the biggest collapse in the history of coach tour operation, highlights the need for government action to save the industry. “This is a sad day for all those involved with Shearings and the wider coach tourism industry, our immediate thoughts are with those employees who now face an uncertain future. Today’s events show the need for the government to step in urgently and provide support to the wider coach tourism industry, during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been lacking to date.”
Specialist Leisure Group warned in April that it was lining up administrators in case it was unable to secure a financial rescue. Since then, East Kilbride-based national tour operator David Urquhart Travel, announced that it was winding up its business, which provided work for many third party coach operators.