Former Travelscope staff have set up a new tour operator to continue selling and operating the cruise ship, Van Gogh to the UK market.

Dutch based company Club Cruise has given financial backing to the newly formed Van Gogh Cruise Line Ltd which will be based in Cheltenham and will trade as Van Gogh Cruises. So far 13 Travelscope staff have set up the company including former financial director Mark Horwood who will now become managing director at Van Gogh Cruises. Club Cruise is the owner of the ship Van Gogh.

Both Club Cruise and ABTA stepped in to save a New Year round-the-world cruise following the collapse of Travelscope before Christmas.

Van Gogh sales team representative Sarah Brooks said: ” We are literally starting from scratch and contacting agents and passengers to let them know they can now take on bookings for itineraries in 2008 and 2009.”

Managing director Mark Horwood said: “We have a small dedicated team, all with previous knowledge of Van Gogh, working hard to get this exciting new venture off the ground. Bookings for the 2008 programme are already off to an excellent start, many passengers had made bookings through the ships previous operator and travel agents and we are delighted that we will enable these passengers to continue with their holidays plans.

“Club Cruise, which is a Dutch public company, is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. Their commitment to the cruising market is second to none – which together with their financial strength is so important in this market sector. We at Van Gogh Cruises are totally committed in helping them achieve that goal within the UK market.”

Horwood said Van Gogh Cruises will continue to sell through agents, national and regional newspapers and other third party companies.