Capture Travel has ceased trading.
The company said it had been forced to close due to a lack of trade and of financial support from the Government.
Established in 2017, the business was focused on offering trips abroad specifically for student and staff groups in universities and schools.
These included group experiences such as training with the cast of the Mamma Mia musical in London, mystery tours and painting and wine days in Amsterdam.
Lack of support
27-year-old founder Katie Doyle claimed the business had been trading strongly prior to the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But since then, like all travel agents, it had suffered a significant drop in activity and had been forced to refund months’ worth of bookings.
Ms Doyle said the business had also not qualified for the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme because it did not have rateable premises, nor did it qualify for employment support. She also blamed the ongoing burden of regulation that was required for it to continue trading.
“Due to the lack of pick up in tourism, the travel agency had no other choice but to close its’ virtual doors,” she said in a statement.
Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR)
The firm was covered by the consumer protection scheme operated by the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR).
Under CAR, customers who purchased a package including travel departing from Ireland or travel only commencing in Ireland, or who had previously received a credit note from the business may be entitled to a refund.
Claims must be made through the CAR within 120 days of the business ceasing trading.
Slipping through the cracks
The closure is bittersweet, as she wonders what could have been done to save her first business.
“’m hopeful, but it’s still hard to give up on something that you put everything into. We were going places before the pandemic, but we were forgotten about, having been declared not eligible for any government subsidies.”
“I’m hopeful for the future, but I do wonder how many other businesses are on the same path Capture Travel was on, who slipped through the cracks of government support. “
Ms Doyle now intends to focus on her tech start-up, Mentor-Her, which connects female mentors and mentees across entrepreneurial, corporate career and self-development spheres.