Updated 9.38am, May 15
Abta member Villa Parade has ceased trading with immediate effect.
The Huddersfield-based parent company Air Parade Ltd also traded as Luxury Villa Escapes, Car Parade and Golf Parade. A message posted on the its website last night confirmed that it was no longer trading.
The company, which has around 10 staff and was set up by a husband and wife team over 10 years ago, told employees of the news late yesterday. All staff have lost their jobs but have stayed on to help with the paperwork.
The company held an Atol since 2001 and sold accommodation-only and packages, mainly to Spain and Portugal.
Abta confirmed up to 70 customers are currently abroad and their holiday should continue as normal. Around 400 forward bookings for flight packages will be protected under its Atol.
There are around 1,300 forward bookings for villa accommodation only. Customers who booked this direct with Villa Parade should make a claim with Abta and a refund will be arranged.
There are also around 300 bookings where Air Parade provided the accommodation through another company, in which case clients should contact the third party company.
The Civil Aviation Authority said it was working with the failed company and more information would be available on its site shortly. Agents are advised to hold on to customer payments on behalf of the trustees of the Air Travel Trust until directed otherwise and not to provide refunds.
Abta said in a small number of bookings Air Parade was acting as an agent for other travel providers. In this case, customers are asked to contact the travel provider.
Agents on the Travel Gossip Facebook page voiced concerns about the company yesterday when no-one was answering the telephone and the website was down for several hours.
Haslemere Travel managing director Gemma Antrobus said: “I am devastated to see another good independent travel company cease trading.”
The firm had been in a legal battle with holiday rentals firm Travelopo in a dispute over villa contracts in Majorca. It is understood bookings had dropped dramatically as a result of comments spread on social media sites.
A spokesman for the company told Travel Weekly staff were “absolutely devastated” by the news.
“It has been very emotional for the staff but they all want to stay on and help with the administration,” he said.