UK-based ABTA member ceases trading

A UK-based travel company that is a member of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has ceased trading.

French Freedom Holidays has gone into administration with over 400 holiday bookings outstanding. The company specialised in coach and camping holidays to France, and had previously held an Air Transport Operator’s Licence (ATOL). Holidays were sold to British and Irish travellers under the names Camping France 4 Less, Holiday France 4 Less, Ski Drive 4 Less, Ski France 4 Less, Welcome France and Welcome Holidays.

The company’s demise, which was precipitated on the 5th of this month, came approximately two months after it had been fined £2,500 by ABTA’s code of conduct committee for breaching the organisation’s rules regarding misleading advertising. According to an ABTA spokesman, the firm was specifically fined for advertising a campsite that it did not have a contract with, so it would therefore have been unable to honour bookings that it took for the site. Following this, French Freedom Holidays informed ABTA that it had taken a number of bookings that it could not honour.

Begbies Traynor, French Freedom’s administrator, has revealed that none of the company’s clients are currently overseas, but there are 422 advance bookings, with around 350 from clients in the UK and the remainder from the Republic of Ireland. However, as the firm was fully bonded, both in the UK and the Irish Republic, ABTA is currently dealing with 340 of those bookings, 25 of which involved clients that were entitled to a refund due to circumstances prior to the company being wound up.