Tourism

UK and Australian-owned tour operator collapses

Huntley Mitchell

Huntley Mitchell

British and Australian-owned tour operator Tucan Travel has become the latest industry player to succumb to the impact of COVID-19, ceasing to trade with immediate effect.

No further bookings are being taken by the company, and customers with existing bookings will not be able to travel as planned, according to a statement on its website.

“Customers should review their confirmation email and travel itinerary which will confirm whether their booking is with Tucan Travel’s UK entity, Tucan Limited; or its Australian subsidiary, Tucan Travel Pty Ltd,” the statement reads.

Tucan Travel’s board of directors have already placed its local entity into voluntary administration, with its UK entity expected to formally enter into administration on or before 16 February 2021.

Australian and New Zealand customers who have paid for any travel with Tucan Travel using a credit card and/or PayPal are being urged to contact their financial institution to seek a chargeback or refund due to the company’s collapse.

Creditors of Tucan Travel who have any additional queries can contact Rodgers Reidy (the company handling the Australian entity’s administration process) by emailing RRNSW@rodgersreidy.com.au or phoning (02) 9262 1944.

The independent tour operator has specialised in adventure travel since 1987, offering more than 400 escorted group tours and tailor-made trips in over 70 countries. Tucan Travel also owns its fleet of overland expedition vehicles in South America and Africa.

Image source: Facebook/Tucan Travel

The company’s local office is in North Sydney, with the UK office in London.

You can read Tucan Travel’s statement to customers below:

The coronavirus pandemic has had a severe impact on many businesses – in particular, the travel industry. During this challenging time, tour operators like Tucan Travel have faithfully tried to support people and balance their needs.

During this time, we had to make difficult decisions to keep the company alive, including many staff redundancies, most of whom are loyal, long-serving staff with families to support. Unfortunately, this now extends to all staff.

With clients’ welfare and best interests at the forefront, Tucan Travel took the decision early in March 2020 to suspend tour operations. There has been no satisfactory solution for tour operators to be able to address the number of clients wishing to receive immediate full refunds.

The reason for this is that tour operators effectively coordinate airlines, hotels and local services such as guides, permits and transportation for groups of clients. Tour operators are required to pay in advance to secure these services on behalf of their clients; many of these service contracts are non-refundable or non-transferrable.

In addition, many of the smaller overseas hotels and service providers that specialist tour operators support are in an even worse situation, they simply do not have the resources to repay what is owed to tour operators until they are able to reopen their business and earn money again.

No one could have predicted that in January 2021, most countries in the world would be in further tough lockdowns with many people losing their lives and loved ones. There is unlikely to be any normal international leisure travel until 2022, and so with a heavy heart, the decision was taken in the best interests of everyone concerned to place the company into administration.

I would like to thank all clients, suppliers and staff for their support over the years and hope you get to enjoy travelling again in the future.

Best wishes, Tucan Travel.

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