For 16 years, Travel Day, a Swindon-based tour operator, helped British holidaymakers jet off to sunnier climes, such as the Caribbean and the US through no less than four brands. The insatiable appetite for a bit of sunshine in a faraway destination has since faded, however, and now Travel Day is packing its bags and entering administration.
The travel sector took a great hit during the pandemic, crippling airlines, airports and the travel agencies that all depend on one another’s custom to thrive. Despite apparent gloom at present, as recent headlines show, Brits are rearing to jet off again once more, once restrictions lift.
Calling it a day
Travel Day opened for business in 2005, at the height of a long economic boom in the UK. Disposable incomes had reached new all-time highs, allowing more of us to jet off than ever before. By 2005, 42.2 million annual overseas holidays were taken by UK residents, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Travelling beyond Europe became increasingly popular, and Travel Day played a role in helping many of these travellers reach long-haul destinations, including places as far afield as Las Vegas (a venue that attracts many as a well-known wedding venue). Business was apparently on a solid footing before the pandemic, according to accounts listed on Companies House.
Once a limit on international travel was implemented in early 2020, however, Travel Day’s sound financial health suddenly deteriorated. Brits cancelled their holiday plans in droves, leaving Travel Day stranded. A business with fixed assets worth a total of almost £850,000 showing little signs of prior distress was now on the ropes.
A much-awaited holiday
The government is anticipating demand for post-pandemic holidays overseas but is trying to balance this with keeping a lid on COVID-19 cases. Number 10 is planning to address the subject with an announcement regarding restrictions over foreign holidays due in a matter of days. Aspiring holidaymakers have been told to ‘be realistic’ about the current situation by the Prime Minister, but there are hints at a ban on foreign holidays being lifted by 17th May 2021 at the earliest.
The travel sector is hedging its bets, assuming our passion for jetting off has only grown stronger over lockdown. This attitude is best-seen in the response to Travel Day’s collapse. While Travel Day struggled to make it through to another holiday season, its collapse attracted healthy demand from buyers.
Investment and advisory practice ReSolve have been hired as administrators.
Mark Supperstone, managing partner at ReSolve, claimed: “COVID-19 has been a challenging time for the travel industry and has led to ReSolve spending a significant time working within the sector, helping our clients survive the storm.”
Mr Supperstone admitted that they had enjoyed success in finding buyers for assets and brands during the pandemic. “This is due to their strong fundamentals and investors’ understanding that the travel sector will soon again pick up”, he added.
One of the keys to unlocking the travel sector in a post-pandemic world and allowing millions to take to the skies once more means keeping COVID-19 cases nailed firmly to the floor.