Kent coach holiday firm Buzzlines Travel has collapsed, blaming factors such as rising costs and “political mischief”.
A statement on its website says: “It is with deep regret that we must inform you that Buzzlines Travel has ceased trading and is unable to fulfil its commitments whilst entering in to a formal insolvency procedure.
“The difficult decision to cease all trading activities has become necessary to comply fully with the responsibility by law as company directors.
“Anyone who has booked to travel with Buzzlines Travel from 1st July 2019 will be contacted in due course by the appointed insolvency practitioner.”
Based at Lympne, near Hythe, it has offered coach holidays and day trips in the UK and Europe for nearly 30 years.
Director Lynn Woods said: “Buzzlines’ customers, for both individual holidays and day trips, are protected by insurance and will receive refunds. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be upset and disappointed, just as we are.
“There are a lot of reasons for Buzzlines’ demise; the owner has invested an enormous amount of money in the last eight years to try to sustain it.
“But the squeeze on travel businesses has become unsustainable for many smaller operators and for all our efforts we simply can’t continue to manage rising costs, currency decline, political mischief and reduced margins.”
Woods is also chief executive of Backwaters Tours, which used Buzzlines’ coaches to transport customers on its trips to the waterways of northern France.
He added: “Backwaters and Buzzlines are separate businesses and, aside from needing to find a different coach partner, the delivery of Backwaters cruises in France are unaffected by these developments.”
A report in Kent Online said the collapse has put more than 40 members of staff out of work, and left many customers “fuming”.
Other local coach tour operators have been contacted by Buzzlines customers about rearranging trips.
Carol Peters Travel, which has offices in Westgate-on-Sea and Deal, has rebooked a school trip for 44 students and six members of staff from Herne Bay High School. They will be travelling to Paris for a three-day trip, departing tomorrow (July 3).
Julie Herbert, office manager at Carol Peters Travel, said: “It is very sad news about Buzzlines and upsetting. You hate to hear of operators going out of business.
“We have had quite a few calls from customers affected and other operators are trying to help too, but it is a very busy time of year.”