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Ironies as doomed TCF comes to the rescue of Aussies hit by collapse of Kumuka


Issues & Trends – July 2012

Ironies as doomed TCF comes to the rescue of
Aussies hit by collapse of Kumuka

THERE are some ironies in the collapse of adventure tour operator Kumuka Worldwide virtually coinciding with the decision of Australia’s Consumer Affairs Ministers to do away with the Travel Compensation Fund (TCF).

Although Kumuka’s head office is in the UK, it’s bookings in this country have been handled by an Australian-registered company which is a member of the TCF. As a result Australian consumers are protected by the TCF and will be able to claim for the recovery of money they have spent on Kumuka bookings.

The amount is likely to be substantial. In just one day earlier this month the fund received claims totalling $150,000, according to TCF chief executive Glen Wells. New Zealanders who booked with Kumuka Australia are also making claims – as they are entitled to.

Wells said it was a little publicised fact that overseas travellers booking with licensed Australian operators are protected by the TCF.

He said this has provided a significant marketing advantage to Australian inbound operators selling to overseas consumers.

Meanwhile other adventure travel companies have rallied around with support for consumers hit by the Kumuka collapse.

Intrepid Travel has set up a hotline for agents and consumers searching for alternative travel options and is matching the price passengers paid for their Kumuka trip on equivalent available Intrepid departures.

“It is sad to see the closure of a company that we have long respected as a collaborator in building the adventure travel sector,” said Intrepid managing director Geoff Manchester.

“We understand that this is a distressing time for Kumuka staff and our thoughts are with them. It is also distressing for travellers who have paid for airfares and got time off work to take a dream trip. We hope that we can help them.”

Youth operator Topdeck offered a 10 per cent discount on all its trips to travellers aged 18-39 affected by the Kumuka collapse.

The discount will apply to all bookings deposited by August 31 quoting a Kumuka booking reference number.

“It is sad to hear that Kumuka has ceased trading after nearly 30 years in the travel industry. Our thoughts go out to the staff and passengers of Kumuka at this time,” said Topdeck Asia Pacific and South Africa sales manager Ben Ittensohn.

Adventure World also offered support to Kumuka passengers. It noted a current offer of a 20 per cent discount on Acacia Africa safari bookings made by August 31 for travel before January 31, 2013.

 

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