Tourists stranded after holiday firm collapses

International Villas working on rescue package

harbour in ibiza town  ibiza...

A holiday firm specialising in luxury villas in Ibiza has shut up shop, leaving hundreds of would-be holidaymakers in the lurch.

Essex-based International Villas ceased trading at the weekend. It specialised in large, high-end homes, with rentals costing between £8,000 and £18,0000 a week, mostly in Ibiza, although it also handled properties elsewhere in Spain.

A statement on the firm's website says the company is working on a rescue package and will give an update tomorrow.

However, over the last few days, some Ibizan owners have been refusing to let International Villas' customers into their properties, claiming they haven't been paid. Dozens of British tourists are believed to have been stranded.

"My understanding is five rentals groups, including three which were British, contacted members to try to find a solution after finding they had nowhere to stay when they arrived on Saturday for what they thought was going to be a dream holiday," Roberto San Esteban, president of local lettings association AVAT, tells the Daily Mail.

"Some of the homeowners that co-operate with us say they've only received thirty percent of their full payment or a week instead of two, and they're not prepared to let holidaymakers in unless they receive what they're owed."

The reason for the sudden collapse isn't known. However, a statement from AVAT suggests that International Villas is one of a number of lettings companies that have been investigated recently by the Spanish tax authorities and landed with a massive bill.

Customers who have yet to leave for their holiday should already have been informed about the problems: around 50 rentals, all in Ibiza and all British bookings, are thought to be affected.

Those who have taken out travel insurance will be covered - as will those who paid at least £100 of the cost on a credit card, which makes the credit card company jointly liable under the Consumer Credit Act.

In the event of a rescue, any others may get their money back. If the company goes into liquidation, assets will be divided amongst the creditors - but this could mean little or nothing.

A Travel Guide to Ibiza, Spain

More on AOL Money:

Is WeSwap the best value for holiday money?

Ryanair cuts prices: predicts price war

Prime Holiday Lettings collapses: your rights

The five worst holiday disasters

The five worst holiday disasters