Travel agents’ failure leaves hundreds stranded on Black Sea coast

Travel agents’ failure leaves hundreds stranded on Black Sea coast

More than 200 Irish holidaymakers on the Black Sea coast have had their homeward journeys over the coming days clouded in uncertainty following the collapse of a travel agents’ group.

Efforts were under way on Friday to bring home close to 60 Irish people stranded in Bulgaria after the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR), which regulates travel agents, terminated licences covering Fanfare, Buzz Travel and Irish Film Tours on Friday after it emerged that their parent company was in financial difficulty.

An estimated 58 Irish people were left stranded in Bourgas, on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast as a result of the company’s problems. More than 200 others who had travelled with the tour operator are due to travel home over the next two weeks.

A spokesman for the regulator said that the commission was organising a charter aircraft to travel to Bourgas to return the holidaymakers to the Republic, where they were due earlier today.

A large number of travellers, left disappointed when a flight organised by the travel agents did not take off from Dublin Airport late on Thursday, can apply to the CAR to have their cash refunded.

Sindaco Ltd, trading as Fanfare, Irish Film Tours and Buzz Travel is unable to fulfil its obligations to its customers and the CAR has withdrawn both its travel agent and tour operator licence,” a commission statement said.

Problems with Sindaco, the company behind the three travel agents, emerged when Cello, the charter airline used by the Irish firm refused to fly passengers saying that it had not been paid.

Following a meeting with Sindaco on Friday, the CAR withdrew its licence.

Travel agents must pay the commission a bond as a condition of getting their licence.

The regulator uses this cash as insurance against company failures, to cover the cost of returning stranded holidaymakers and for refunding those left unable to travel.