WTL Travel Services enters liquidation owing agency staff £127k

WTL Travel Services has gone into liquidation owing travel agency staff £127,000.

The Blackpool-based firm was set up in March last year by David McDonald, director of Book in Style, which traded as agency chain World Travel Lounge.

World Travel Lounge staff were transferred across to work for WTL Travel Services.

A Statement of Affairs filed by the liquidator shows the company failed owing £277, 784 to creditors, including 22 members of staff, and holding just £8,000 in assets.

Employees are owed more than £48,000 in wages and almost £79,000 in redundancy and notice pay, with most of the remaining debt owed to HM Revenue & Customs.

Ian Williamson and Christopher Brindle, of Campbell Crossley & Davis, were appointed liquidators on March 2. The company confirmed the liquidation was in its initial stages.

McDonald, who set up World Travel Lounge in 2015 and grew the chain to 10 branches, said: “Covid had a huge impact and as such we have recently sold a number of stores – three to Protected Trust Services and one to Holiday with Us – while also closing a number of other stores, protecting as many roles as we could.

“Our sole focus has always been our colleagues. We’re doing everything we can to support them through this difficult time.”

McDonald is named on Companies House as director of WTL Travel Services, Book in Style, Spalding Travel and Travel Co-op Limited. He recently resigned as director of a further company, Irene’s Breakfast.

In October last year, two World Travel Lounge branches, in Preston and Blackpool, were acquired by Hays Travel North West, reducing the former’s retail estate to eight.

In January this year, Protected Travel Services took over the World Travel Lounge branches in Cleveleys, Fleetwood and Leyland, and its in-house tour operation Odisea. This included its 16 staff, formerly employed by WTL Travel Services, which was not a member of Protected Trust Services [PTS].

Book in Style had its membership of PTS terminated in January. Its 1,500 bookings remain in trust and are being protected by Protected Trust Services and fulfilled by Protected Travel Services.

World Travel Lounge also had branches in Thornby, Crosby, Nott End, Lytham and Spalding, with the Spalding shop now understood to be owned by Holiday with Us.

The website for its LGBTQ+ tour operation Chillimix, launched in 2020, is not currently accessible.

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