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Crisis in travel sector claims latest casualty, as coach tour operator collapses

More than 2,400 jobs were lost and 64,000 bookings cancelled at The Specialist Leisure Group (SLG), owner of coach holiday operator Shearings, after EY were appointed as administrators.

Sam Woodward and Colin Dempster of EY were appointed last month to SLG, which also operates several other travel companies offering short breaks, events and river cruises throughout UK, Europe and worldwide for the over 50s. The group has ceased to trade with immediate effect.


All tours, cruises, holidays and hotel breaks booked with the group, across its 44 UK hotels and travel brands, have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.


SLG’s insolvency follows news that Tui, Europe’s largest travel group, warned it may have to cut up to 8,000 jobs, under plans to tackle “unquestionably the greatest crisis the industry and Tui has ever faced”.


In the airline industry, (combined across all three firms), British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Ryan Air are looking at up to 18,000 job cuts.


Mark Tanzer, chief executive of ABTA, the travel advice provider, said: “Two of the SLG companies, Shearings and Wallace Arnold, were members of ABTA and much-loved brands. It saddens me this has come to pass after many weeks warning the government that businesses were at risk.


“I fear that SLG will not be the last firm to fall, if the government fails to act. ABTA has repeatedly highlighted to the government the urgent need for a coordinated strategy with additional support.”


Headquartered in Wigan, SLG operates National Holidays (trading as Caledonian Travel), UK Breakaways, Coast & Country Hotels, Bay Hotels, Country Living Hotels, and Wallace Arnold Travel.


The directors had been looking for a buyer of all or parts of the business, and received interest, but no viable transaction structure could be agreed.




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