Two travel agency chains have gone into administration with the loss of around 300 jobs.

The companies - Wardle Travel and its subsidiary Sandbach Travel - operated 41 branches in the Midlands, Wales and the North-west.

They were run by Doug Wardle, a former member of the board of the Association of British Travel Agents.

Abta said that no holidays were under threat and that Abta would, if necessary, pay holiday companies any outstanding money due.

A total of 22 of the 41 branches have been taken over by Harvey World Travel, safeguarding the jobs of those already in those shops.

But the rest of the shops will close.

It is Harvey World Travel's first purchase since its UK launch. The agencies have been purchased for an undisclosed sum and Harvey will now invest in converting the sites to its branded format.

It said the acquisition would enable it to offer retail outlets to potential franchisees.

They include those in Penkridge, Stafford, Market Drayton and Lichfield.

John Donnelly, managing director of Harvey World Travel (UK), said the company was already in advanced talks with a number of potential franchisees, looking to set up businesses in the areas where the company now has a presence.

"We intend to apply the Harvey World Travel branding to all shops. Our strategy has always been to build from our Midlands heartland and this acquisition provides the perfect opportunity for us to increase our high- street presence."

Harvey World Travel came into the UK in December after a #6.6 million acquisition of Wolverhampton-based Travel Factory. The group claims to be the largest single brand travel franchise group in the Southern Hemisphere.