Scandinavia Only has announced it will refund customers with existing bookings and wind down its operations owing to the ongoing "significant" travel restrictions and "resultant repercussions" on the entire travel industry.
The Aito specialist operator and Abta member was founded in 1973 and traded as Scandinavia Only and Taber Holidays.
"This is certainly not a decision that’s been taken lightly," said managing director Suzel Taber-Shaw.
"We remain a solvent company – however, the future seems so much less bright now than it did at the start of 2020. Then, we looked forward to further building upon the excellent year’s start that we had enjoyed; our business was in a very healthy financial position.
"Now, 12 months later, with ongoing restrictions and uncertainty, we have made the difficult decision to wind down our business in an orderly manner."
Taber-Shaw said all customers, trade and direct, would receive a full refund "as quickly and efficiently as possible" directly from the company, and stressed no calls would be made on the firm’s bonds held for consumer financial protection. The process will be managed in date order via email.
"As a specialist operator, and long-term member of both Aito and Abta, we have loved providing carefully-packaged holidays to Scandinavia for nearly five decades," said Taber-Shaw.
"We thank all our customers, and the many travel agents with whom we have worked, for their confidence and support during the past very difficult year, and for the many happy years we’ve shared since our first full year of business and our first brochure in 1974."
Taber-Shaw also paid tribute to the operator’s products and serviced provided by suppliers and partners throughout Scandinavia, with many relationships dating from the company’s first year in operation to this very day.
"We also owe a huge debt of gratitude to our loyal, dedicated and wonderful staff, who’ve worked tirelessly with us to provide the highest levels of service, and who are also very personally affected by these difficult times," Taber-Shaw added. "I can only state again that this is certainly not a decision that we have taken lightly.”
Aito chair Chris Rowles said: “This is sad news, and we understand only too well the pressure of the past 12 months and the battles to stay afloat in such a harsh business environment as the travel industry, which has soldiered on with no sector-specific support from government.
"All travel companies continue to face huge negatives such as immense pressure from credit card companies, who hold on to millions of pounds for far longer than necessary, and a total lack of support from the regulatory authorities.
“We shall miss Suzel at Aito and wish her and her fellow directors and shareholders the very best after accomplishing their orderly closure, with full refunds to all who have booked holidays with Scandinavia Only."
Rowles added that much now rested on chancellor Rishi Sunak’s March budget. “The rest of us have to hope that Rishi Sunak finally pulls some much-needed rabbits out of the hat in support of the tour operating and travel agency sectors of the travel industry; such sector-specific support is very, very long overdue.”