Ireland's largest tour operator, Budget Travel, went into liquidation late this week, with the loss of more than 172 jobs. The travel operator had over 17 shops in Ireland, and catered primarily to people and groups seeking affordable holidays in the sun.
Senior executives are currently meeting with government officials in an effort to make return arrangements for holidaymakers who are currently stranded abroad, and for those who have deposited money with Budget Travel for future holidays. The company has already drawn up contingency plans for the 747 people that are currently stranded abroad due to the company entering liquidation.
The company had previously lodged a bond of $17.2M million with the government, which will use it to refund customers and make arrangements for stranded holidaymakers.
The 400 people that were due to depart this weekend on Budget Travel holidays are expected to seek refunds from the government.
The company made a $5.9 million profit last year, but underestimated the severity of the current recession. Bokings with the company nosedived in the past year, and it was operating at a loss of $75 per passenger before it closed.
Eileen O'Sullivan, the company's managing director, she "this has been a painful and distressing time for us all and we deeply regret that this situation has arisen. We particularly regret the impact of the decision on our loyal customers and on our colleagues across the company many of whom have worked with us for decades. We will do everything we can to minimize the impact of this decision especially on those who are currently traveling with us,"
Budget Travel began to restructure the company in August. It had closed over 14 shops with the loss of more than 95 jobs.