Coronavirus: 2,500 jobs lost as Specialist Leisure collapses

Shearings Holidays is one of the brand names of Specialist Leisure Group which has gone into administration. Credit: Getty.

Over 2,500 jobs have been lost and 64,000 holiday bookings cancelled as travel firm Specialist Leisure Group collapsed into administration late last night.

The holiday company which includes a string of coach and hotel brands such as Shearings, National Holidays, Bay Hotels and Caledonian Travel, has failed to survive the steep drop-off in business caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

A message on the Specialist Leisure Group website posted yesterday said all tours, cruises, holidays and hotels booked with the company were cancelled and would not be rescheduled.

This includes the immediate closure of 44 hotels across the country who were trading as Bay Hotels, Coast & Country Hotels and Country Living Hotels.

All Wallace Arnold Travel shops are now also permanently closed.

The firm blamed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its collapse, which has seen leisure travel shutdown in the UK since mid March.

SLG posted this message on their website yesterday.

Trade organisation Abta said Specialist Leisure Group, which specialised in products for the over-50s, was "significantly impacted" by the coronavirus pandemic.

It said the company had struggled to provide thousands of refunds for cancelled trips.

Customers with package holiday or tour bookings are expected to have financial protection and flights should be covered by ATOL, meaning most people should receive a full refund.

Customers finding themselves without protection may be eligible for a refund via their credit or debit card or travel insurance.

Employee Matthew Herbert said he was "gutted", writing on Twitter: "It'll take a while for this wound to heal. To my colleagues, good luck, stay safe, stay strong."

John de Vial, Abta's director of membership and financial services, said: "The fact that two such well-known brands with a loyal customer base have had to call in administrators is a stark indication of the pressure that the holiday industry is under as a result of the coronavirus pandemic."