On Friday, UK company Lowcostholidays announced it was entering receivership “following exhaustive attempts by the group’s directors to rescue the group, which has been hampered by the recent and ongoing turbulent financial environment”.
Administrators Smith & Williamson said the development affects approximately 27,000 customers currently in resorts and some 110,000 customers who have booked upcoming travel/holidays through the group.
Pat Dawson, CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association, said the website was particularly popular with Leaving Certificate students.
“They carried approximately 90,000 Irish people a year, and made €40m turnover out of Ireland. Its accommodation arm, Lowcostbeds, made around €15m turnover out of Ireland. Its parent company made some €700m, so we’re talking about a huge company,” he said.
“Certainly with future holidays and holidays in situ, I would estimate that this will affect some 10,000 to 15,000 Irish people.
“The vast majority of customers will have their flight tickets, but hotels booked for the last two weeks and for the next few weeks haven’t been paid yet.”
Irish people who booked through Lowcostholiday’s Spanish subsidiary will be able to claim back costs as the company is bonded by the Commission of Aviation Regulation.
However, those who booked accommodation only through Lowcostbedswill not be covered.
Mr Dawson said such situations are an example of the benefits of booking via travel agents, who will have cover for customers if they opted for accommodation with lowcostbeds as part of a package deal.
He described the situation as ‘messy’ and said many people who have contacted the ITAA helpline were not sure of their rights or if they were covered.