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UK Cruise and Tour Firm All Leisure Group Collapses

Skift Take

Since the heady days of a stock market floatation in 2007, there has not been much to shout about for All Leisure Group. Like a number of other travel companies, it has not been able to cope with the level of geopolitical upheaval in key destinations. It is unlikely to be the only big travel casualty of 2017.

— Patrick Whyte

Long-struggling UK cruise and tour operator All Leisure Group has gone out of business.

Prior to its demise it managed to offload a number of its brands but still had 13,000 bookings for future holidays and 400 people abroad at the time.

The bookings relate to two of its cruise lines Voyages of Discovery and Swan Hellenic. As no buyer could be found for these businesses, both have been closed.

Around 7,000 of those who have yet to travel will receive a refund though the Civil Aviation Authority’s Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) scheme, which handles payouts in the event of a company collapse for holidays involving a flight.

The rest, who were booked on cruises departing the UK, will be covered by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA).

All Leisure Group was the creation of well-known travel industry executive Roger Allard, who, in 2001, brought all of his brands under one roof. He was one of the founder of Owners Abroad (later renamed First Choice) in 1973, which is now part of travel giant TUI Group.

As well as cruise companies, All Leisure Group also included tour operators Travelsphere and Just You… or at least it did.

The All Leisure Group subsidiary that operated holidays for both companies (Page & Moy Travel Group Air Holidays Limited) has also ceased trading according to the CAA with Canadian firm G Adventures taking over.

Both websites now list G Adventures (UK) Limited as the holiday operator. The company is controlled by the founder of G Adventures Bruce Poon Tip.

G Adventures has yet to respond to a question about the possible acquisition.

Meanwhile, the company’s third cruise line Hebridean Islands Cruises was hived off last year and is now owned by a group of investors led by All Leisure Group Chairman Roger Allard.

Downward spiral

Over the Christmas break, two of the company’s cruise lines cancelled sailings in January due to unnamed “operational reasons.” A decision that in hindsight looked like the beginning of the end.

Swan Hellenic was due to operate its “Gateway to Atlantic Isles” from Marseille, France on January 3, while Voyages of Discovery’s Riches of the Orient cruise was due to depart Malaysia on January 4. It is not known whether cruises scheduled for later in the year will take place.

Parent company All Leisure Group has struggled for a number of years as a result of geopolitical problems in some of its key destinations such as the Black Sea and Middle East.

Until June last year All Leisure Group was listed on the Aim Stock Exchange in London. It delisted, in part, because of a poor performance that had seen its share price plunge.

Prior to this it raised $3.6 million (£2.9 million) from a sale and leaseback deal involving MV Hebridean Princess, which was bought by a consortium including the aforementioned Allard.

The reason why the company needed to raise cash is clear from its most recent results.

In 2015 it made a small pre-tax profit of $246,000 (£200,000) but in the prior year it made a loss of $8.8 million (£7.2 million). In 2013 the loss was $16.7 million (£13.6 million).

 

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