D-travel, one of the largest travel companies in the Netherlands, has been declared bankrupt. According to the company, because of the coronacrisis, hardly any money came in because of the travel bans. Also, the government fund, the voucher fund, was approved too late to save D-Reizen.
The company employs more than 1150 people at the 285 travel agencies in the Netherlands. A curator examines the possibilities for a relaunch.
“ Its a blackened day for us,” says Jan Henne De Dijn, the highest boss of the company. He bought the company from a German travel company at the end of last year. “There have been many conversations with parties over the past period to find a solution. With our bankruptcy, an important link is lost in the travel industry in the Netherlands.”
“ This is very sad for all people who work for D-travel”, responds Frank Oostdam, director of travel umbrella organisation ANVR. “It is an iconic company, which has made history in the travel industry. You think D-travel is too big to fail, but it turns out not now.”
According to Oostdam, bankruptcy could have consequences for tour operators. “D-travel occupies such a central place in the travel sector that it can have a domino effect. Multiple tour operators who deliver D-trips can also get into trouble.”
Customers who still have vouchers for package travel during D-travel are reimbursed through Stichting Garantiefonds Reisgelden. “Once we have the customer data of D-travel, consumers will be invited to submit a claim,” says Director Erik Jan Reuver. “So there is no point in approaching us now.”
Possibly some trips continue, according to Reuver, it is up to the tour operator. People who have only booked a flight ticket on D-travel are not eligible for the Guarantee Fund. They have to report to the airline itself.
Over the past year, the company received more than €20 million in support from the government under the NOW scheme, which enabled staff salaries to be paid.
D-Reizen tried the last few weeks to get more clarity about a new government fund. With money from that fund, travel agencies were able to return consumers money for the vouchers they received earlier.
The European Commission has now approved the fund, but D-travel was still waiting for the first payment. According to the company, that was part of the neck blow.
Yet Oostdam is not afraid that other major travel companies will follow. “All travel companies have liquidity problems,” says Oostdam. “There are several ways to get money, but D-travel apparently did not succeed. I therefore believe that the late payment for D-travel has not been the decisive factor for bankruptcy.”
The bankruptcy of D-reizen was also discussed today in the House of Representatives. Demissionary Minister Vant Wout called it terrible news. He also said that the voucher fund was a complex arrangement, which still had to be approved by Brussels.
Vant Wout doesnt know if bankruptcy would have been avoidable if the settlement had been completed earlier. The Minister stressed that “every effort is being made to do everything as quickly as possible.