Barnstaple and Braunton travel agents close down

Vacation World ceases trading as staff are in formed by a mass telephone call.

THE Barnstaple and Braunton branches of Vacation World have shut down after the travel agent ceased trading.

The news was broken to staff at 9.15am on Wednesday via a conference telephone call.

They were also told they would not receive any pay for their work from May 1.

Vacation World had 14 shops in the South West, of which three have since re-opened under new operators.

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The closure of the two remaining North Devon branches has led to the loss of nine jobs.

A member of staff who did not wish to be named said: “It’s pretty poor to tell us by phone we have not got a job and won’t get paid for the past two weeks we have been working.”

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Vacation World was formed from the 92 Harvey World Travel stores, taken over by Stuart Arnott in 2009. The Barnstaple and Braunton branches were Let’s Go Travel before that.

The company was a member of the Hay’s Travel Independence Group, which enables agents to operate under its licence.

Managing director John Hays said he would like to reassure clients that all of their holidays were safe, with all Vacation World customers contacted.

“The response from clients has been very good, they have been reassured their holidays will take place as normal and no one will be losing any money,” he told the Gazette.

“My perception is the staff have been very loyal and long-suffering. My staff have had nothing but praise for them and we are doing our best to secure employment for them, either in a shop or a home working environment.”

Three former Vacation World stores in Cheadle, Dartmouth and Torbay have reopened under new owners and joined Hays Travel Group.

Mr Hays said the company was talking to senior people at Barnstaple and Braunton to explore the possibility for the North Devon stores.

Vacation World was owned by Napco Limited, which went into a Company Voluntary Agreement with its creditors about a year ago.

“I would like to think we have done our best to nurse them along and Hays has been giving Napco short term loans for the past couple of years,” said Mr Hays.

As yet the Gazette has been unable to contact Mr Arnott or anyone at the Vacation World office in Blackpool.

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