As many as 50,000 Britons face holiday misery after a UK tour operator collapsed. Up to 16,000 British tourists were abroad when Surrey-based travel firm Goldtrail collapsed, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said. A further 2,000 Britons due to travel to Greece and Turkey this weekend had their holidays cancelled.
On the eve of the school holiday season, experts warned that tens of thousands more people who had booked holidays or flights with the company will be hit.
Last night authorities sought to reassure holidaymakers that they could claim back money lost on bookings and would be flown home at the end of their holiday under the Atol (Air Travel Organiser's Licensing) scheme.
Cassie Inns, from Surrey, who was supposed to travel to Turkey with Goldtrail tomorrow, said: "I'm very upset, it's just a nightmare." Another customer, Martin Plimmer, has been left almost £1,000 out of pocket after having to find new flights to Turkey. "Our predicament was that if we couldn't afford the flights we would lose the £1,500 that we'd paid for our all-inclusive hotel because it was through a different company."
The CAA warned that Goldtrail is unlikely to be the only travel company to go bust this summer. "We may go for the rest of the year and not have any other failures, but that would be unlikely," a spokesman said. "If people have booked with an Atol-protected holiday they have nothing to worry about, because the worst-case scenario is that unfortunately they don't get to take their holiday but they do get a full refund, and if they are on holiday they get to complete their holiday and we bring them home as normal," he added.