Fewer travellers hit by collapses
Almost 74,000 travellers have been hit by the collapse of holiday companies this year, leading to £26 million being reclaimed, new research has revealed.
A study by comparison website Kelkoo showed that 24 holiday firms went out of business over the past 12 months, with people waiting an average of four months for a refund.
The figures are a slight improvement on 2010, when 29 travel companies failed, hitting 189,000 people and sparking £47 million of compensation claims.
The average claim has increased by 41% per person from £250 last year to £353 in 2011, said Kelkoo, adding that more long-haul specialists have failed recently.
Almost one in 10 travellers missed out on compensation payments after failing to submit legitimate claims.
The biggest failures this year happened in the peak holiday season when bookings and deposits were at their highest, said Kelkoo.
Managing director Chris Nixon said: "Economic conditions in the holiday market have been incredibly challenging in 2011 with travel companies having to contend with factors such as rising fuel costs and the impact of air passenger duty.
"But it is reassuring that significantly less holidaymakers were affected by travel company collapses this year compared to 2010. Since 2007, when air passenger duty was introduced, package holiday prices have increased by 20%.
"On top of this, there has also been the backdrop of weak consumer spending and income growth that have dampened demand. All of these factors have had a direct negative impact on travel companies.
"Unfortunately, 2012 will see other holiday companies go to the wall, so travellers booking their summer holidays over the next few weeks should check that they book with an Atol-protected company, so they can be sure that if their travel company does collapse, then they will be compensated."