Former Abta president Martin Wellings’ company Personal Service Travel Ltd has called in the administrators after 54 years of trading, blaming substantially increased bonding requirements from Abta.

The independent travel agency, which had an annual turnover of £14 million and also traded as Direct Travel and PST, was founded in Eastbourne in 1953 and has always been under the ownership of the Wellings family. It specialised in cruises, tailor-made holidays and long-haul destinations

Although the PST shop in Battle will close, eight of its offices – Eastbourne, Haywards Heath, Seaford, Heathfield, Reigate, Hailsham, Bexhill-on-Sea and St Helier in Jersey – will continue to trade as franchises of Premier Travel Agency, managed by their existing staff.

PST managing director Martin Wellings said: “After 54 years it is sad for this company to bow out after such good run arranging travel for thousands of holidaymakers. But I am pleased that the majority of our staff will be able to continue in their jobs under the franchise agreement with Premier. I hope they will continue to be successful and will have a strong future.”

Wellings’ separate business travel agency, PST Corporate Ltd, will continue to trade under his ownership as before.