Agents brace for Kumuka fall-out

Agents brace for Kumuka fall-out
By admin

Agents are readying themselves for the full impact of the collapse of adventure travel firm Kumuka, but the Australian Federation of Travel Agents is hopeful of an "orderly" exit.

AFTA chief executive Jayson Westbury did not expect the fall-out would be on the same scale as that wreaked by the folding of Air Australia earlier this year, which he described as “one of the worst collapses in our history”.

“It’s a little difficult to ascertain at the moment, but agents won’t be stung as badly as they were with Air Australia,” he told Travel Today.

While airline payments are generally made by credit card, with funds transferred on a regular basis, many Kumuka customers may have had longer term payment arrangements. That would mean their money could still be held by the agency.

Westbury was further encouraged by the fact that tours with departures up until July 22 will still run.

“At least that’s a sign they are trying for an orderly departure,” he said.

Since news of the collapse broke, other adventure travel firms have rallied round affected travellers and agents by discounting alternative travel options.

“That’s typical of the industry,” he said. “They should be congratulated for that, especially given the commercial implications of such offers.”

Meanwhile, Travel Compensation Fund chief executive Glen Wells told Travel Today the consumer protection body had been “inundated with calls”.

He expected the fall-out would be substantial but stressed many of Kumuka’s clients would be covered by the fund.

He advised those affected to claim with the TCF, and said he expected the majority of applications would be processed within five to seven days.

“It’s a large company and a lot of the packages are quite substantial,” he said.

Flight Centre said "hundreds, rather than thousands" of its clients had been affected.

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