On the eve of the busiest-ever August bank holiday for travellers, an upmarket holiday company has gone bust. Exclusive Escapes, based in Richmond, currently has 500 clients in Turkey. They will be able to continue their holidays, but 1,750 people with future bookings are now faced with rearranging travel plans at short notice.
Several hundred holidaymakers were expecting to fly out with the company this weekend.
Exclusive Escapes also traded as Hidden Turkey. It promised “Wonderful villas and boutique hotels in beautiful places” along Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.
In a statement the firm blamed its collapse on political turmoil in the region: “It’s no secret that 2015 has been one of the toughest years to date in the country, largely due to Turkey’s geo-political situation. This comes on the back of two challenging years of trading."
The firm claimed it was performing well compared with the general market. But, it said, “The two months following the atrocity in Tunisia, and then Turkey joining the coalition against Isis, together with ensuing events, have had a considerable impact on the market which have sadly proved unmanageable.
“Our immediate thoughts and sympathies lie with the many loyal guests, wonderful hoteliers and suppliers who are affected in addition to our unfailingly loyal team, both in Turkey and the UK. We apologise most sincerely for any inconvenience this has caused.”
It is the biggest failure of a UK tour operator so far this year. Clients with bookings over the next few weeks are being contacted by the company, which says it is encouraging them to get in touch with the properties independently.
Summer holiday events 2015
Summer holiday events 2015
1/14 Alice in Wonderland Garden Trail, RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Essex
Hyde Hall celebrates the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll's Alice with a Wonderland trail. Meet the Cheshire Cat, find the Mock Turtle and take part in a caucus race – which has no rules at all!
Thursday to 31 August, 10am-6pm; free (garden admission applies: adults £8.95, children £4.50); rhs.org.uk
© RHS/Rachael Meyer
2/14 Keeper for a Day, Birdland, Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire
No two days are the same at Birdland: helping behind the scenes could involve catching birds for ringing, working in the hatchery, building an aviary or preparing penguin food.
Until 30 September, 10am- 5pm; £85 (over-14s only); birdland.co.uk
3/14 Grand Medieval Mêlée, Cardiff Castle, Wales
Hop back 1,000 years at this historic hoopla. Watch resplendent knights do honourable battle, listen to age-old stories, feast on medieval meals and have a go at weaving, weapon skills and ancient games.
15-16 August; adults £6, children £4; cardiffcastle.com
4/14 Blitzed Brits, IWM North, Manchester
This new exhibition marks the 75th anniversary of the Blitz. Hear real stories, take cover in an air-raid shelter and milk a cow like an evacuee. During the holidays, join in with object-handling and craft activities, too.
Until 10 April 2016; free; iwm.org.uk
5/14 Vitality SportFest, Wormsley Estate, Buckinghamshire
A sporting extravaganza with real star power. Greg Rusedski, Daley Thompson, Beth Tweddle and more will lead coaching sessions; there's music and games, too – and feasts from Jamie Oliver.
7am Saturday to 3pm Sunday, 1-2 August; adults and 5+ £150, 3-4s £39, under-3s free, includes camping, two meals, coaching and activities; sport-fest.co.uk
6/14 Top Hat Stage School, St Albans, Hertfordshire
Top Hat has pedigree: its mini-performers star in West End shows such as Matilda. Wannabe starlets can learn drama skills from the pros, finishing with a full performance of Aladdin at the week's end. Ta-dah!
10-14 & 17-20 August; 6-17yrs £150, 4-5yrs £100; tophatstageschool.co.uk
7/14 Anglo Saxon Combat, Sutton Hoo, Suffolk
Let out the last of that holiday energy with an ancient battle: the re-enactment group Ealdfaeder will be teaching the rules of combat, from swinging swords to shooting arrows and planning an enemy raid.
29-31 August; free (Sutton Hoo admission applies: adults £7.90, children £3.95); 01394 389 714, nationaltrust.org.uk
8/14 Foyles Summer of Fun, London and Bristol
From Mad Hatter's Tea Parties to Where's Wally hunts, there's lots of literary liveliness at Foyles' bookshops. Highlights? Make a Shaun the Sheep with an Aardman expert (29 July) and sign up for Thunderbirds Training Day (19 August).
25 July to 28 August; various prices (Shaun £8, Thunderbirds £5); foyles.co.uk
9/14 Family Outdoor Theatre: Robin Hood the Musical, Attingham Park, Shropshire
Fancy dress and picnics are encouraged for Cambridge Touring Theatre's outlaw tale. Come early for a pre-play workshop, where kids can join in thespian games.
8 August, 6.30pm-8.30pm (pre-performance workshop 5pm); adults £13, children £8, workshop £4; 01743 708 123, nationaltrust.org.uk
10/14 Chester Zoo Islands, Cheshire
Delve into the islands of South-east Asia – in Chester. New for Summer 2015, the zoo has created six tropical isles, swarming with Sumatran tigers, carnivorous plants, gharial crocodiles and swinging orang-utans.
Open from now; adults from £20, children from £16.36; chesterzoo.org/islands
11/14 Holiday Workshops, Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich, Norfolk
Via theatre games and exercises, professional tutors at Maddermarket's Theatre School workshop will help stage students of all ages discover characters and tell stories.
10-14 August (12+), 17-21 August (7-11s), 10am-2pm; £70; maddermarket.co.uk
12/14 Touch Tank Days, Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick, East Lothian
See sea urchins, crabs, mussels and more marine beings up close in a touch tank; design a creature in the cartoon lab; and join the Alien Or Not workshop to learn more about invasive species.
13 August; exhibition free (Discovery Centre admission applies: adults £8.95, children £4.95); seabird.org
13/14 Children's Festival of History, Lincoln Castle, Lincolnshire
Get hands-on with history at Lincoln Castle (also home to a new Magna Carta visitor centre). Make a shield or a Tudor pomander (a perfume-diffusing ball), march with Roman centurions and meet CBeebies' Mike the Knight.
22-23 August; adults £12, children £7.20; lincolncastle.com
14/14 Coasteering, Bass Point, Lizard, Cornwall
Coasteering is the art of negotiating the shore by any means: climbing, clambering, scrambling, swimming and leaping. Cornwall's Lizard is a cracking place to learn, with instructors providing kit, tuition and wildlife facts.
29 July, 9am-1pm; £45; 01326 558 424, nationaltrust.org.uk
The Civil Aviation Authority has stepped in to ensure those in Turkey can continue with their holidays as normal. No further departures will take place, but everyone who booked flights and accommodation together will be entitled to a full refund under the ATOL protection scheme.
A number of bookings with Exclusive Escapes are accommodation-only deals. The CAA said: “Our advice to these customers is to check with your insurance provider and, if you paid by credit card, to check with your card issuer.”Reuse content