Dream World Travel creditors to receive no payments from failure

West London tour operator and travel agency Dream World Travel has been wound up with zero payments to the former Atol holder’s creditors.

Dream World Travel entered voluntary liquidation in July 2022 owing more than £10.2 million despite the post-pandemic travel recovery which took off from March of that year.

The company was an Iata agent though not an Abta member and had traded since 2006 selling mainly long-haul travel. It held an Atol for 4,450 protected customers but had forward bookings for 14,615 when it ceased trading. However, it reported just £25,000 in assets.

The cost of the failure to the Air Travel Trust fund was initially estimated at £6.1 million but subsequently revised down to £3,337,943 with card issuers picking up more of the refunds.

More: Air Travel Trust fund rebounds to £169m

About 90 customers were left without air tickets or Atol Certificates for flights they had paid for in full and were owed sums ranging up to £5,586.

The CAA initially delayed opening a claims portal “because of the anomalies” in the company’s booking records. An industry source described the company’s record keeping in the months up to its failure as “abysmal”.

A statement of affairs issued by liquidator Opus Restructuring in December 2022 and signed by sole director Mohammad Omer Alvi revealed the company owed more than £1.3 million to trade creditors, including almost £850,000 to Kayak, Brightsun Travel and The Holiday Team.

It had run up debts with online payment companies Ecommpay (£2 million), Paysafe (£400,000) and Checkout (£380,000), and it owed Iata £52,000 and Barclays £200,000.

The company described itself as “one of the UK’s leading independent travel agencies” and was an appointed representative of Fly Now Pay Later, allowing customers to pay in monthly instalments.

It reported turnover in excess of £36 million for the 12 months to June 2020 and a loss of just over £20,000 in the pandemic year to June 2021. The company switched auditors just months before its collapse when its exiting auditor resigned in March 2022 for unspecified reasons.

The £40,000 realised from the liquidation was not enough to cover the liquidators’ fees, leaving nothing for the out-of-pocket customers, financial institutions or trade creditors. The liquidators’ final report noted a report had gone to the Insolvency Service.

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