Friday, June 14, 2024

UK travellers warned over Europe holiday disruption as tour operator goes bust

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The Canary Islands are immensely popular with UK tourists (Picture: Getty Images)

Though the UK weather might be somewhat on the rocks, we’re edging closer and closer to summer (the official start date for which is June 20, FYI).

If you’re lucky, you might have a getaway booked somewhere in Europe, where there’s usually guaranteed sunshine and sparkling blue waters.

However, up to 40,000 people looking to experience a slice of European bliss this summer have been warned that they could see disruption to their trips if holidaying in one popular location.

With German tour operator FTI filing for bankruptcy, thousands of tourists and workers on the Canary Islands have been left in the lurch – around 1,500, to be exact.

The Canary Islands, which include Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, and El Hierro, are incredibly popular with British tourists in particular, with 14 million international tourists visiting in 2023.

Likewise, the bankruptcy has also impacted Meeting Point, a hotel chain that has twelve hotels across the popular getaway destination, including 12 in Fuerteventura, 11 in Gran Canaria, four in Tenerife and three in Lanzarote.

Here’s everything to know if you’ve been impacted by the travel warning, from claiming back your money to heading off on your holiday.

Can customers impacted by the FTI insolvency still go on their holiday?

As per the FTI website, the administrator in charge of the insolvency process is looking to urgently support the roughly 60,000 customers currently on their way to holiday destinations as part of tours operated by the company.

‘We are making every effort to ensure that travellers can complete their holiday and return home safely and on schedule,’ provisional insolvency administrator Axel Bierbach has urged.

Those that were booked onto journeys in the coming days will have their bookings cancelled, which includes all trips booked up to this coming Monday, June 10.

‘We are working at full speed to explore all possibilities to have the booked trips carried out as planned by other travel providers from the earliest possible date,’ Bierbach added.

‘We hope to find a solution for travel from July 1 at the latest.’

Is FTI giving its customers refunds following the insolvency?

Impacted by the insolvency? FTI has confirmed that all customer payments for package holidays booked through FTI Touristik GmbH are protected by the DRSF (the German Travel Security Fund).

As such, the DRSF will be managing repayments made to customers who are losing out, with the website reading: ‘The DRSF will also refund any advance payments made by package holiday customers if it is not possible to carry out these trips. The proportion of package tour bookings at FTI is more than 90 per cent.’

So, before you head off this summer, be sure to check your bookings.



Hundreds of British tourists with ‘remainer passports’ are getting caught out by a little known 10-year rule

Before the UK left the EU, UK passport holders were able to transfer up to nine months from an old passport over to a new one, including on 10-year passports.

But, if carrying this over has meant that your passport is now over 10 years old, you could find yourself caught out at the border.

Before Brexit, the UK Passport Office’s policy was that passport holders that had time left on their existing documents could effectively transfer the balance to a new one.

So, if a document had three months remaining, those three months could be added to a new passport.

Under these rules, up to nine months could be carried over to a new passport, bringing the total for updated 10-year passports to 10 years and nine months.

These rules also apply in the wider Schengen Area, including in Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, though UK visitors entering Ireland aren’t impacted by this rule.


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