Tour operator collapse

Pink turns red as JT Touristik declares insolvency

German tour operator JT Touristik has declared insolvency leaving some customers having to pay again in destination hotels and resulting in several days of confusion over booked holidays.

October 05, 2017
Jasmin Taylor founded JT Touristik in 2009
Photo: Lenthe/touristik-foto.de

The Berlin-based company, whose eye-catching pink-coloured corporate identity is personalised by owner Jasmin Taylor, had grown fast in recent years selling dynamic package holidays but apparently remained in the red. JT had some 346,000 customers and turnover of €176 million in 2015/16, according to fvw’s annual German tour operators dossier. The last published accounts for 2013/14 showed a small profit.

The loss-making company was brought down by the lack of insolvency insurance for the coming business year starting in November 2017. German tour operators are legally obliged to have insolvency insurance in order to trade and accept customer payments.

Insurer Generali cancelled JT’s contract as of end-October 2017 (along with those of other clients) due to its withdrawal from the travel market. JT said it had been unable to agree a new contract with another insurer “despite intensive efforts”.

The company initially stated in its insolvency announcement last Friday (September 29) that all holidays up to October 31 would be covered by the insolvency insurance with Generali and claimed it expected that booked holidays from November onwards could also go ahead.

However, numerous JT customers wrote on social media platforms that they had been forced to pay for their accommodation again at the destination (particularly in Turkey) because the hotelier had not been paid in advance by JT or informed that their costs would be covered by the insurer.

In response, JT said on Sunday that Generali had committed itself to covering all costs for all holidays between September 29 and October 14 (departure date), and that all suppliers, including hotels, should not charge customers locally.

But it remains unclear who will cover the costs of booked holidays with departure dates between October 15 and 31. These are key dates as there are half-term school holidays in many parts of Germany in the second half of October.

Jasmin Taylor told fvw on Monday: “Customers who had to make payments in destinations will get their money back.” She added that she hoped all booked holidays up to October 31 could take place since these were covered by the valid contract with Generali. Taylor also claimed that she was in talks with potential investors to enable the company to keep trading in future following a restructuring.

However, on Wednesday (October 4), following the German public holiday on October 3, a Berlin court appointed lawyer Stephan Thiemann as the provisional insolvency administrator for JT Touristik and approved the creation of a creditors’ committee.

As a dynamic package tour operator JT Touristik contracted hotel accommodation mostly through large bedbanks and incoming agencies, including MTS/OTS, Jumbo, W2M, FTI subsidiary Meeting Point and Alpha Tours.

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