Tour operator Diamond Shortbreak Holidays has ceased trading, with all its 8,000 upcoming bookings now cancelled - here's what to do if you've lost your holiday.

The firm, which provided UK and foreign rail holidays, river cruises, coach trips and flight-based packages, traded under various names including Diamond Holidays, Diamond Rail Holidays and The River Cruise Line.

None of its customers are currently on trips, but if you've booked for an upcoming trip under any of those brands, your holiday will now sadly not go ahead.

However you should be able to get your money back from one of two consumer protection programmes, either the ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) or ATOL (Air Travel Organisers' Licensing) scheme.

Here's what to do:

  • If you booked any type of trip through a third-party travel agent... Contact that company first. Your agent will help you submit a claim through ABTA or the ATOL scheme, or alternatively it may submit a claim on your behalf.
  • If you booked direct for a rail, river or coach cruise... You'll be able to reclaim the cost of the trip from ABTA by submitting a claim on its website.

    Alternatively, if you paid with a credit or debit card there is the option to apply for a refund through your card company under its chargeback or Scetion 75 rules, and ABTA has provided links to downloadable letters to help you do this. However you are still free to apply for a refund through ABTA directly if you prefer.
  • If you booked direct for a flight-based trip... You'll have received an ATOL certificate when you booked, which will allow you to reclaim the cost of your trip from the Civil Aviation Authority, that aviation regulator which runs the scheme.

For full help see the dedicated Diamond Shortbreak Holidays help available on the ABTA and Civil Aviation Authority websites.

'A timely reminder' to check your holiday's protected

Andy Cohen, head of ATOL at the Civil Aviation Authority, said that the collapse of Diamond Shortbreak Holidays was "a timely reminder" of the importance of ATOL protection when booking a holiday.

“Booking an unprotected holiday could leave you out of pocket or stranded abroad if something goes wrong with your travel company," he said.

“Thanks to the ATOL scheme, ATOL protected customers have peace of mind that their money is safe even if their travel company stops trading."

For more on protecting your holiday see our Cheap Package Holidays guide.