Tucan Travel becomes the latest tour operator to fail

With no sign of when meaningful adventure travel might resume, another specialist tour operator has folded.

Tucan Travel, based in West London, has ceased trading with immediate effect and will operate no more trips.

Customers waiting to travel will be able to recover the money through the firm’s bonding arrangements.

Tucan has been operating group trips to destinations worldwide, from Azerbaijan to Antarctica, for more than 30 years.

The firm particularly specialised in South America, with its very first trip to Colombia. Tucan trips catered for the budget end of the market, and it had a loyal clientele.

The chief executive, Matt Gannan, is well respected in the travel industry.

In an online statement he said: “The coronavirus pandemic has had a severe impact on many businesses in particular the travel industry.

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“During this challenging time, tour operators like Tucan Travel have faithfully tried to support people and balance their needs.

“During this time we had to make difficult decisions to keep the company alive including many staff redundancies, most of whom are loyal long-serving staff with families to support. Unfortunately this now extends to all staff.

“No one could have predicted that in January 2021, most countries in the world would be in further tough lockdowns with many people losing their lives and loved ones.

“There is unlikely to be any normal international leisure travel until 2022 and so with a heavy heart, the decision was taken in the best interests of everyone concerned to place the company into administration.”

Mr Gannan said providing refunds to clients had become fraught – with no cash coming in to the business and payments already made to airlines, hotels and local services such as guides, permits and transport.

“Many of these service contracts are non-refundable or non-transferable,” he said.

“In addition many of the smaller overseas hotels and service providers that specialist tour operators support are in an even worse situation, they simply do not have the resources to repay what is owed to tour operators until they are able to reopen their business and earn money again.”

Tucan Travel follows other other adventure specialists into administration. 

STA Travel failed in August 2020, Trek America closed down in September and The Independent Traveller ceased trading in October.

James Chapple, deputy news editor of the travel trade journal TTG, said: “It speaks of the severity of the circumstances facing the industry that the pandemic is claiming wholly viable businesses, ones that have been successful over a great many years, that have been left in limbo by the political torpor in Westminster.”

At present all outbound leisure travel from the UK is banned.

On Tuesday morning, the universities minister, Michelle Donelan, told Times Radio: “I certainly won’t be booking summer holidays yet.”

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