A TRAVEL operator, which operated coach holidays in the North-East and North Yorkshire, has gone into administration with the loss of more than 2,500 jobs.

This afternoon National Holidays announced its parent company - Specialist Leisure Group Limited - had ceased trading and had appointed administrators.

It is understood that thousands of customers had rebooked coach holidays with the firm after trips were cancelled following the coronavirus outbreak.

National Holidays had operated coach holidays from locations including Newcastle, Durham, Darlington, Stockton, Middlesbrough and North Yorkshire.

The firm also had a travel agent branch on Stockton High Street, Middlesbrough bus station and in Clayton Street in Newcastle.

The Northern Echo understands that employees were told they were being made redundant via a conference call this afternoon.

A statement from National Holidays said: "We regret to inform you that we have ceased to trade as Administrators have been appointed.

A spokesperson for Specialist Leisure Group confirmed it had collapsed due to the impact of coronavirus. 

It said: "All tours, cruises, holidays and hotel breaks have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.

"The Specialist Leisure Group operated several businesses that sold holidays and other travel arrangements under the following brand names, which have all ceased to trade, due to the impact of COVID-19."

The travel trade organisation Abta said more than 64,000 bookings have been cancelled and more than 2,500 jobs lost.

The parent firm which owned several brands including Shearings, Bay Hotels and Country Living Hotels also announced the permanent closure of the following hotels in our region:

- Bay Royal Whitby Hotel, Whitby

- Bay Norbreck Hotel, Scarborough

- Bay New Southlands Hotel, Scarborough

- Country Living St George, Harrogate

What customers need to know

The parent company has cancelled all holiday bookings, including organised tours and cruises and will not be rescheduled due to the collapse.

Specialist Leisure Group Limited said all customers with cancelled package holiday bookings, which include organised travel, are expected to have financial protection.

Customers who were issued with credit notes for rebooked package holidays cancelled since March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, may have the same financial protection as under their original booking, says the firm.

'Vast majority should recieve refund'

Abta has said the vast majority were coach package holidays which are financially protected so customers with these bookings will receive a full refund.

John de Vial, Director of Membership and Financial Services at Abta, said: "The Specialist Leisure Group included two of the UK's best known coach holiday brands, Shearings and National Holidays, two much loved holiday companies who for many years have provided holidays both at home and overseas to a very loyal group of customers.

"Today is a very sad day for these customers and the thousands of staff who will have lost their jobs.

"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."

  • If you're affected - visit National Holiday's official website at nationalholidays.co.uk