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Published on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

All VIVID Travel staff made redundant as operator suspends operations

VIVID Travel has made all 10 staff redundant and suspended its operations, blaming the impact of Covid.

Marketing director Caroline King confirmed today that all staff would be let go, with the last few leaving on September 10.

The operator has bookings cancelled all booking and refunded customers.

"We would like to warmly thank our customers for their understanding and steadfast support throughout," the company said in a notice on its website.

It is unclear if VIVID will resume operations once travel restrictions ease.

The closure of the business - temporary or otherwise - comes after VIVID founder Kane Pirie posted an encouraging update in May when he said business was 24% ahead of February.

He said customers believed that 2021 would book up early, leading to a 'gold-rush mindset'.

Vivid had also tipped a record year for New Zealand and had opened its second base in Auckland.

New Zealand has since closed its borders.

The company had forecast a £10 million turnover in 2021.

However, Kane has issued a statement saying that the company has not been able to operate any trips since March. He added that he was 'uneasy entering into new contracts with customers' until the [coronavirus] crisis is resolved, saying that 'it feels like speculation'.

"We now have airlines and other suppliers operating regardless of FCO advice. In this market, trading is reduced to gambling," he said.

"If the trip runs we might make a small margin but if it does not we could incur a significant loss.

"Some of the larger OTAs are now refusing to cancel / refund in that situation but we have a different relationship with our customers.

"The current market is not compatible with our 100% commitment to refunds."

He said bookings have been cancelled with customers refunded in full within 14 days.

Thanking his team, Kane added: "I am very proud of everyone in the team at VIVID Travel. They have been truly heroic in this extraordinary year. They all deserve medals of honour."

VIVID made headlines in April when it quit ABTA just one month after re-joining having previously joined and left in July 2017 and October 19 respectively.

Kane has been a vocal critic of operators failing to refund passengers for cancelled trips during the coronavirus crisis, founding the Right to Refund campaign.

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