The UK’s “golden summer” of events, including the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, sparked a sharp rise in the number of travel companies going to the wall as Britons chose to stay at home.
The number of travel agencies and tour operators that entered insolvency between October 2011 and September 2012 more than doubled, according to figures from accountants Wilkins Kennedy.
A total of 86 travel companies went bust during the period, up from 40 during the previous 12 months.
The sharp spike was blamed partly on instability in popular holiday destinations such as Greece but mainly on Britain’s “unmissable” summer of events, which encouraged UK households to pass up their annual summer break abroad and take part in celebrations at home.
“While the Jubilee and Olympics were presented as a tonic to the double-dip recession, they actually compounded the financial problems in the travel sector,” Anthony Cork, a partner at Wilkins Kennedy, said.
“A lot of struggling travel agencies needed an exceptional 2012 to help them keep their heads above the water, but the once-in-a-lifetime combination of a home Olympics and the Jubilee put paid to that.”
Recent administrations include the collapse of Leicestershire-based Bowen Travel Group last month, with the loss of 400 jobs.
Thomas Cook said earlier this year that UK bookings of its summer holidays fell 1pc. The tour giant reduced the number of summer breaks it made available to UK holidaymakers by 11pc amid the volatility in the travel market.
Meanwhile, UK tourism bosses are warning the boom experienced by hotels and visitor attractions in London over the summer could be erased by next April’s rise in Air Passenger Duty.