A devastating blow for the Irish travel industry: the directors of Joe Walsh Pilgrimtours Ltd., which also trades as Concorde Travel, today announce a cessation of trading of its operations. Commenting on the decision today to cease trading, the directors said: ‘The decision that has been made is in the best interest of all concerned. We would like to thank, at this time, all our customers over the years. We would also like to acknowledge the incredible effort that our staff have made, and for their loyalty and support, particularly during the last year.’
JWT was one of Ireland’s oldest and best-known tour operators. Founded in 1961 by Joe Walsh, the company grew into one of the country’s top travel companies, specialising in – amongst other things – pilgrimage tours and escorted tours. It also focused on sports travel and became a byword for organised trips to high-profile sporting events. The company had passed from Joe Walsh’s hands into those of his two sons, Barry and David.
The Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) have been informed and are liaising with the directors of Joe Walsh Pilgrimtours Ltd.
Joe Walsh Pilgrimtours Ltd. hold a bond with the Commission for Aviation Regulation, which provides financial protection for flight inclusive travel packages originating in Ireland. CAR will manage any outstanding refunds, including those under the Refund Credit Note (RCN) scheme announced by the Irish government in 2020. Any customer of Joe Walsh Pilgrimtours Ltd. with monies paid towards a cancelled booking or a future travel package should contact CAR and make a claim.
In a statement released this afternoon, the company said: “Joe Walsh Pilgrimtours Ltd. has not traded since the start of the pandemic. However, they have remained open during this time to assist customers with refunds and rebookings.”
In the statement, the company took issue with Irish travel protocols, which it labelled the “most restrictive in Europe, putting Irish travel companies at a disadvantage to their European counterparts.”
“Like many travel agencies and tour operators Joe Walsh Pilgrimtours Ltd. was paying overheads, while at the same time unable to trade and also waiting on refunds from suppliers. Joe Walsh Pilgrimtours Ltd. has worked full time during the pandemic for no return.”
Pat Dawson, CEO of the ITAA said, “It is a sad day for the travel industry as this long established agent closes its doors. Joe Walsh Tours was established in 1961 and was one of Ireland’s leading travel companies through the decades, certainly one of the best known. Indeed many travel agents throughout the country learnt their trade with JWT before opening up their own travel agencies.”
“This closure highlights the difficulties the travel industry has been experiencing. The Irish Travel Agents Association call on the Government to extend income support for travel agents into 2022 when the public are back travelling and holidaying again.”
“Joe Walsh Pilgrimtours Ltd. has business interruption insurance in place. The company had hoped to be able to continue trading with the benefit of a large refund claim from the insurers. However, it has not been possible to reach agreement with the insurers at this stage. This will now be a matter for the liquidators to progress in due course.”
We at ITTN want to express our deepest regret at this terrible news and wish the directors and staff at JWT every success in the future.