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A travel agency, Konsortium Express and Tours has closed down, and an estimated 1000 customers affected.
Based in Golden Mile Tower, the agency which specialises in coach trips to Malaysia, cited a ‘financial crisis’ as the reason for it suddenly ceasing operation on Thursday (Feb 22).
The news came as a shock for many of the travel agencies located in the area.
An employee from one of the establishments told Shin Min Daily News that Konsortium’s office was lit at around 10pm on Wednesday (Feb 21).
Everything seemed normal, he said.
However, on Thursday morning (Feb 22), the office was suddenly closed.
A security guard also revealed that a colleague had seen Konsortium’s employees moving out many cardboard boxes out from the office late in the night, and told him about the closure.
A spokesman for Grassland Express, Mr Chen Wenfa, told reporters that he found out at 7am that Konsortium’s office was closed, and realised that there was a notice of closure placed on its door.
Said Mr Chen:
“Our two companies have been working together for many years. Sometimes, when we are overbooked, we will direct our customers to them.
“We did not know they were going to shut down.”
Another spokesman from WTS travel, Mr Xie Zhaocong, said that he was shocked to learn of the news.
Mr Xie said that more than 20 customers were originally scheduled to set off on the day itself.
According to Shin Min Daily News, other than coach trips, Konsortium also sells travel packages for cruises, guided tours, and tickets to local attractions.
It is believed that almost 1000 customers were affected by the sudden closure.
In an official statement by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), it said that those who had purchased travel insurance prior to the closure should approach their insurance providers for assistance.
Those who have not purchased insurance can seek the help of the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) or the Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) for help in seeking compensation.
In addition, the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore’s (NATA) Surface Transport Committee is rallying local transport operators to take over the affected bookings should the need arises.
STB also took the opportunity to remind consumers to take measures to safeguard their own interests, such as paying by instalments and purchasing travel insurance which provides coverage for unforeseen events, such as when a travel agent turns insolvent.