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Wrexham Travel Firm Secures £1.2m Coronavirus Loan from Barclays

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Growing travel agency obtains funding support to protect the business from the significant impact of Covid-19

The region’s fastest growing independent travel agents Polka Dot Travel has secured a £1.2m loan to protect it from the coronavirus lockdown impact on the travel sector.

Polka Dot Travel, has stores across North Wales in Wrexham, Llandudno, Rhyl, Mold, Welshpool and Bangor, and with support from Sedulo, their accountants and business advisors, submitted an application for the funding from Barclays for the CBILS loan, in order to support the business during the Covid 19 pandemic, throughout what is clearly a “difficult time for the industry”. Not only have travel restrictions resulted in cancellations of pre-existing holidays, social distancing has prevented the footfall in their high-street stores during what would normally be a cash-generative peak season coming into Summer 2020.

The Company, founded by Philippa Wilcox and Helen Johnson in 2013, employs nearly 100 people and while the Company has adapted and is still taking bookings for Summer 2021, all other on-site trading has been closed due to the pandemic.

Mark Johnson, managing director, said:

“Whilst we have suffered from the inevitable reduction in sales (and processing of refunds), we were keen to ensure that we could still provide the high-quality service that our customer have come to expect.

“We have reduced costs as a result of the decline in activity at our stores and unfortunately had to place a number of our team on the Furlough through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, we still needed core staff to help our customers re-book holidays or arrange new bookings for when the restrictions are lifted. Clearly, we have been working with unknown factors but the lockdown has had a huge impact on our business, Barclays have provided the additional support we need.

Barclays processed the CBILS loan in a diligent and efficient manner, with the money approved and made available to us just within a couple of weeks of submitting the application. These additional funds provide assurance on cash flow requirements through to next Spring and guaranteeing our ability to continue employing our team and servicing our customers.”

Steve West, Barclays Relationship Manager, explained: 

“The travel sector has been hit hard by the pandemic, but Barclays have worked with this successful and rapidly growing Company for years, this facility will ensure that the company will get through this tough period, and come out stronger for the experience with the confidence and financial headroom to navigate this disruptive period and be ready to reopen fully when the time comes.”