Friday, 21 August 2020

STA Travel closes following parent company insolvency

The demise of STA Travel in the UK was inevitable after its Swiss parent company filed for bankruptcy earlier this week.

In a brief statement posted on the firm's website this evening, the firm confirmed its closure;  

"Due to the recent announcement that STA Travel UK has ceased trading, unfortunately our travel experts are unable to assist you at this time.

Please be assured that if you had a previous booking with us, or hold a live booking, you will receive further communication in the coming days.

We are sorry for the inconvenience and the limited information available to you at this time."

With more than 50 stores around the UK that mainly dealt with Students and young adults, STA was the starting point of thousands of gap year adventures and global treks.  It had been in operation for more than 40 years and was a key feature of many high streets, specialising in package tours for backpackers and young people.

The firm confirmed that an external administrator will be appointed in the next few days to take the next steps. "As a consequence, STA Travel Holding AG, is filing for insolvency. In the next few days, an external administrator will take over and determine next steps"

The company said: "Over recent months, the company took decisive measures to secure the business beyond coronavirus. However, sales have not picked up as anticipated, due to consumer uncertainties, further restrictions and renewed lock-down measures, which are expected to largely continue into 2021.

While the parent company STA Travel Holding AG in Switzerland is affected, local day-to-day operations by STA Travel may continue around the world. STA Travel Holding AG very much regrets to not have been able to secure the future of the business under these unprecedented circumstances."

STA Travel Ltd was a bonded member of ATOL (3206) and the Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that consumers abroad will be confirmed in due course and anyone who is currently abroad will have tickets for their flight home. These are still valid and people should check-in as normal.

ATOL will actively working with accommodation providers to make sure all affected customers can continue their holiday. If for any reason customers are required to pay again for their accommodation, or any other part of the ATOL protected booking, we advise to obtain receipts for payment and submit a claim for the cost. More information is available on our website at

Consumers with cancelled bookings or refund credit notes

The CAA said it knew that some of STA's clients had credit notes and bookings that had already been cancelled due to coronavirus COVID-19 safe travel corridor changes. These customers with valid refund credit notes or are due refunds for the cancellation of their ATOL protected booking will be able to submit a claim to ATOL through our online portal.

Future travel

For ATOL-protected consumers that are due to travel after 21 August 2020, flight tickets may still be valid but this must be confirmed with the airline.

If choosing to travel, consumers may be asked to pay again for replacement services of the original package holiday. However, provided the services are covered by ATOL, they are entitled to submit a claim for a refund. Replacement services may include accommodation, transfers or other services but consumers should confirm which services were included in the package holiday on their ATOL certificate or booking documents.

If consumers have a flight-only booking that was ATOL protected, they will only be able to make a claim if they are still due to travel and have not received a valid ticket. Otherwise, consumers should speak to their airline, including if the flight has been cancelled or they have received a voucher for a cancelled flight.

Choosing not to Travel

If ATOL-protected consumers choose not to travel or their flight tickets are not valid, they will be able to make a claim.

Andrew McConnell, spokesman for ATOL, said: “We understand this will be concerning news for anyone who has booked to travel with the company or has had their booking cancelled. It is a sad day for the industry when a long established business like STA Travel Ltd ceases trading, especially one that many may be used to seeing in their towns and on their high streets.

“However, the ATOL scheme exists for exactly this kind of situation and we are making arrangements so that all ATOL protected customers can either continue their holiday and return home as normal, or make a claim if they are due to travel.”

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