A LONG-STANDING Irish tour operator has been forced to cease trading due to the “savage destruction” of the travel industry meted out by the coronavirus crisis.
Founded by Mayo native Gerry Flynn in 1990, Blackburn-based Enjoy Travel specialises in providing package holidays which include Irish entertainment in sunspots around Europe.
With a packed annual calendar of trips, over the years the firm has brought thousands of members of the Irish community in Britain – and many from Ireland too - to sunnier climes to enjoy Irish music and dancing while on their holidays.
However, the current travel ban in Britain imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic has crippled the business over the past six weeks and they have now been forced to cease trading, Mr Flynn has confirmed.
“Enjoy Travel has been working tirelessly over the last six weeks to try to secure the return of funds held by overseas suppliers, in order to refund you our valued customers,” he explained in a statement made on Friday, May 8.
“The timing of Covid-19 could not have been worse,” he added, “with over 1200 people due to travel to a number of our overseas events between April and June, all of which have now been cancelled.
“In addition, we already have approximately 1000 customers booked to travel on future events in the Autumn all of which now seem to be in jeopardy.”
Mr Flynn, who is a Director of the family business along with his wife Susan, explains that in order for their customers – many of whom have travelled with the firm for a number of years – to get their refunds the company has to cease trading.
“The savage destruction meted out to the travel and entertainment industries is without parallel and Enjoy Travel is totally immersed in both,” Mr Flynn, who hails from Ballina, said in a message to those customers.
“This means that the future of the company is now untenable, but because we are fully licensed with the appropriate insurance bodies you will get your money back.
“In order to trigger this and after seeking appropriate professional advice, we must now cease trading.”
He noted that many of those customers had offered to transfer funds already paid to a holiday after the crisis, but claimed they cod not offer that option due to the uncertainty around the length of the travel ban.
“Many of you have kindly offered to transfer your funds to a future event, but with no indication of when the tourist industry is likely to begin to recover, we cannot predict how the future will evolve at this point in time,” he said.
“Therefore, as a responsible tour operator, we are obliged to follow the Package Travel Regulations. You are entitled to your money back and we are aware that many of you are in desperate need of that refund.”
He went on to confirm that all of their customers who have paid for trips with Enjoy Travel, will be reimbursed, stating: “As a fully licensed and bonded tour operator, anyone with a booking for a recently cancelled event or a future event will be reimbursed.”
Signing off as the company entered into the liquidation process, Mr Flynn added: “Enjoy Travel is no ordinary holiday company.
“It is a family, and over the years we have been privileged to meet some incredible people, many of whom have become lifelong friends.
“Right now, we cannot be sure of what the future holds but, we sincerely hope to see you again when we are all the other side of this woeful situation.
“If we survive this health-wise, then we will consider that to be a victory.
“Stay safe, stay indoors and keep well.”
For information about refunds click here.