Cities Direct closes in wake of Covid-19 slowdown

Cities Direct closes in wake of Covid-19 slowdown

Cheltenham-based Cities Direct has closed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The news was announced earlier by Martyn Sumners, executive director of AITO, following consultations with managing director, Jace Quick.

Sumners explained: “Cities Direct had been a member of AITO for nearly nine years and had traded for 20 years. 

“The company had full financial protection in place via the CAA, ABTA and IPP.

“Understandably, in the current very difficult trading climate, they saw a lack of consumer demand and felt that they would be throwing good money after bad if they battled on and borrowed money.

“At AITO, we are hugely sorry about the demise of Cities Direct.

“Jace and his team will be missed, and we wish them well for the future, whatever they each decide to do as individuals.”

Cities Direct was launched in September 2000.

A statement from the company said: “We have had an incredible 20 years developing and growing Cities Direct in an ever-evolving industry. 

“We have very much enjoyed the experience, and would like to thank our staff, travel industry partners and many loyal customers for all their support over the years.

“We had so many exciting plans for the future of the business, but the impact of Covid-19 travel restrictions has been devastating.”

Sumners said the failure should prompt government action to support the travel sector.

He added: “In such problematic times, while AITO battles to convey to the many government departments to which we report the myriad problems that our SMEs are encountering – without much in the way of reaction or assistance to date – this is a clear indication of the desperate straits that many formerly vibrant companies find themselves in, through no fault of their own.

“We hope that this first AITO Covid-19 casualty signals clearly to government that the many U-turns it has taken over the past six months have severely shaken consumer confidence when it comes to booking overseas holidays.

“The entire outbound travel market is under intense pressure.

“We need government support to enable us to survive and to continue to pay our usual enormous amounts of tax into the exchequer for the greater good. 

“The alternative is too depressing for words.”

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