Oasis Overland has become the third Aito specialist to cease trading owing to the Covid crisis and, the association said, the lack of sector-specific government support for travel.
The business, founded in 1998, confirmed on Wednesday (17 February) its directors were taking steps to place the company in liquidation. All forward bookings have been cancelled.
"The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the whole of the travel industry," said operator in a message posted on its website, attributed to the whole Oasis team.
"During this challenging time, Oasis Overland has been unable to operate any trips and has had to make some very tough decisions, including redundancies of loyal, long-serving staff and cutting costs wherever possible.
"After 11 months, our resources [are] severely depleted with no income and the future looking very bleak, particularly after recent UK government advice and the prospect of not being able to ‘overland’ through Africa, South America or Asia for many months."
Oasis specialised in small-group expeditions by truck across a number of overland destinations, and also ran hotel-based trips to Pakistan, Bolivia, Peru and south-east Asia. It had just launched a new 93-day trip through Africa from Nairobi to Johannesburg when the government’s latest restrictions on travel to Africa came into effect.
Aito executive director Martyn Sumners said: “Chris Wrede and his team had been in business since 1998 – more than 22 years – and joined Aito in 2008, just over 12 years ago. He was a valued member of the Aito family and will be much missed.
“Chris and his team were hugely committed to responsible tourism, delivering positive benefits to local communities through travel and ensuring that any negatives were minimised."