ABTA will only have to compensate a limited number of consumers following the failure of Travel Worldwide.

The Bournemouth-based business failed last month with 13,700 forward bookings, which had been made through as many as 25 of the agency’s brands including skybargains.co.uk and USbargains.co.uk.

An ABTA spokesman said the “majority” of the bookings were made by the agency acting as an agent, meaning tour operators and other suppliers used in the transaction are legally bound to honour the bookings.

Of the remaining bookings, the spokesman said most of them are expected to have been made on credit cards, which means the credit companies would be liable for the loss.

He refused to speculate on what could have led to the travel agency’s demise on July 21. Travel Worldwide was ­unavailable for comment. Claims should be referred to ABTA’s claims handling ­partner CEGA.