Collapse of Joe Walsh Tours sparks fears of more travel firms to go under

The group has announced a total cessation of trading after 60 years in operation
Collapse of Joe Walsh Tours sparks fears of more travel firms to go under

Joe Walsh Tours was a leading operator of religious pilgrim holidays to places such as Medjugorje.

More travel agents could follow Joe Walsh Tours out of business if the Government does not continue Covid supports into next year, the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) has warned.

Joe Walsh Tours, which traded as Joe Walsh Pilgrimtours and Concorde Travel, announced a total cessation of trading after 60 years in operation. 

As well as mainstream holidays, the group was a leading operator of religious pilgrim trips to places like Lourdes and Medjugorje. 

It was also a big seller of custom sports packages, with Leinster rugby trips a speicality.

The company held a bond with the Commission for Aviation Regulation, which will cover refunds to customers. 

While it is understood the majority of refunds were paid out last year, when customer trips were cancelled due to the pandemic, there remains hundreds of people due payment.

The company was hoping to receive a sizeable payout for business interruption insurance due to Covid. If that transpires, that money will also go towards refunding customers if needed.

Joe Walsh Tours will now be placed into liquidation by the aviation regulator, with the liquidator ultimately deciding if any of the assets can be salvaged.

The ITAA has urged the Government to continue its income supports for travel firms into early 2022. 

Chief executive Pat Dawson said numerous more travel agents could go out of business if supports are stopped. 

He said around 50 to 60 firms have already been saved through supports like the wage subsidy schemes and the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme.

“This closure highlights the difficulties the travel industry has been experiencing. The Irish Travel Agents Association call on the Government to extend income support for travel agents into 2022 when the public are back travelling and holidaying again," Mr Dawson said.

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