2,400 jobs go as UK travel group collapses

Sam Woodward and Colin Dempster, partners in EY’s restructuring team, have been appointed joint administrators of Specialist Leisure Group, the hotel and travel company which has collapsed with the loss of more than 2,400 jobs

Specialist Leisure Group offers escorted coach tours, short breaks, events and river cruises throughout the UK, Europe and worldwide for the over 50s. Headquartered in Wigan the company employs over 2,400 people across its 44 UK hotels and travel brands.

The group, which operates Shearings Holidays, National Holidays (trading as Caledonian Travel), UK Breakaways, Coast & Country Hotels, Bay Hotels, Country Living Hotels, and Wallace Arnold Travel, has ceased trading with immediate effect.

Bay Hotels, Coast & Country Hotels and Country Living Hotels will not reopen.

All tours, holidays and hotel breaks booked with the Specialist Leisure Group have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.

Sam Woodward, EY partner and joint administrator, said: ‘The group has been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic as all tours, trips and events have been cancelled and the hotels closed to the public, leading to a significant cash shortfall.

‘The directors of the group have been in discussions with a number of parties, seeking a going concern buyer for the business.

‘Unfortunately, despite interest in the group as a whole and in parts, no viable transaction structure was able to be agreed and, as a result, the group was placed into administration.’

As a result, the jobs of 2,460 employees, 2,207 of which were furloughed at the time of appointment, will now be made redundant. Approximately 70 employees will initially be retained to assist the administrators in disposing of the assets and winding down the business.

EY said the vast majority of customers are expected to have financial protection from one of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, Bonded Coach Holidays, ATOL or ABTA, or through their credit or debit card issuer.

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