Consumer organisation Test Achats has advised anyone holding a holiday voucher issued by tour operator Neckermann to use it as soon as possible to book a holiday, so as not to lose its value altogether.
Neckermann, the chain of travel agencies previously trading under the name of Thomas Cook, is on the brink of bankruptcy, it was reported last weekend. The chain is now owned by the Spanish Wamos Group, which is itself suffering from financial difficulties because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the travel industry.
Neckermann now has until 22 February to come up with a solution to its financial problems, or filing for bankruptcy will be the only option, the board concluded.
If that were to happen, the only people covered would be those who have a package holiday booked already, or those who were issued with a ‘coronavoucher’ for a cancelled holiday between 20 March and 19 June 2020.
Any other voucher issued outside of those dates will not be covered by the same security, and will become virtually worthless, Test Achats warned. The only solution is to use the voucher to book a holiday before 22 February. Even if, as seems likely, that holiday will never take place, Neckermann’s insurance will pay out to refund the deposit or full price paid.
“We can therefore only recommend to all those who received a voucher after June 19, 2020 to use it now to book a new trip. If this trip cannot take place at a later date due to the crisis, then you are insured against possible insolvency of the tour operator. Protection you don’t get with a voucher that hasn’t been converted to travel,” Test Achats said in a statement.
“Only once the booking has been confirmed will it come back under insurance protection,” said spokesperson Simon November.
The organisation’s advice applies to other vouchers issued after 19 June, although for the time being Neckermann seems to be the only operator in imminent danger of collapse.
The Brussels Times