//STA Travel ceases trading

STA Travel ceases trading

High street agency employed about 500 people

STA Travel, one of the UK’s largest travel agencies, has gone into administration.

The company had 49 branches and a head office, employing almost 500 members of staff. It specialised in student and youth travel, becoming known for round-the-world trips for those embarking on gap years.

STA’s holding company, the Swiss-based STA Travel Holding AG, filed for insolvency on Wednesday.

An ABTA spokesperson said: “The news that STA Travel Limited, which was a long-standing ABTA Member, has ceased trading will send a shockwave through the industry, bringing to life the very real pressures that travel is under at the moment.

“STA Travel will be a name that is familiar to most people who will have used them to travel or been aware of their name on the high street, and this distressing news will sadly affect the livelihoods of hundreds of employees.

“People will have used STA Travel to book package holidays as well as individual air tickets. The majority of holidays sold were flight inclusive packages, which are protected by ATOL and scheduled airline tickets only which should proceed as normal. Non-flight based packages will be protected by ABTA.

“If customers booked a package holiday through STA Travel, and the holiday is provided by another tour operator, they will need to contact the tour operator who should be able to confirm that their booking will go ahead as normal.

“Further information for customers affected can be found at abta.com/statravel

Andrew McConnell, spokesman for ATOL, said: “We understand this will be concerning news for anyone who has booked to travel with the company or has had their booking cancelled. It is a sad day for the industry when a long established business like STA Travel Ltd ceases trading, especially one that many may be used to seeing in their towns and on their high streets.

“However, the ATOL scheme exists for exactly this kind of situation and we are making arrangements so that all ATOL protected customers can either continue their holiday and return home as normal, or make a claim if they are due to travel.”

Sam Ballard is a director and co-founder of Waterfront Publishing, creator of ABTA Magazine, Cruise Adviser, Solus and more.