The news that FRAM’s 670 employees feared, finally came on 29 October. Following an Extraordinary Works Council meeting at the French tour operator's head office in Toulouse (south western France), FRAM’s management has confirmed that the company is indeed insolvent. By filing for bankruptcy, its fate is now in the hands of the courts.
As Thouraya Ferchichi, FRAM’s Works Council spokesperson, explained, all employees are hoping that there is a buyer. After the recent withdrawal of the combined Chinese HNA, and French Selectour Afat offer, all hopes now lie with the French online travel specialist, Karavel-Promovacances, who is now the only known buyer still in the running.
Over the last ten years, the increased rise of internet travel offers, the Arab Spring, which has resulted in loss of interest for the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia), the rise of low-cost airlines, together with the fratricidal battle of the company’s two majority shareholders, have led to the tour operator finally going belly up*.
Founded in 1949, and with a clientele of 300,000 tourists per year, FRAM, as of now, is no more in control of its destiny. In the coming days, it will be up to the courts to decide upon the outcome of this family saga.
*The amount of the deficit has not been disclosed.