Misa Travel pledges to help customers hit by closure

A passerby walking past Misa Travel's office at Hong Lim Complex, which has a notice on their shutters indicating that they were no longer in business.
A passerby walking past Misa Travel's office at Hong Lim Complex, which has a notice on their shutters indicating that they were no longer in business. ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

It says it is working with other agencies to offer alternative travel options

A travel agency that shut abruptly on Wednesday has promised to help affected customers continue with their travel plans or make insurance claims.

The 23-year-old Misa Travel shut a day after the Singapore Tourism Board revoked its travel agent licence for failing to "fulfil its obligations towards its customers".

The Consumers Association of Singapore has received at least 19 complaints against Misa Travel. In total, customers were out of pocket by $28,000 for packages that had not been fulfilled.

In a statement yesterday, Misa Travel said: "After 23 years in business, it's with regrets that our major shareholder has to make the business decision to close Misa Travel Pte Ltd. We are deeply sorry and understand the disappointment and frustrations of our customers who are affected by the closure."

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The firm, which was acquired by private equity firm Zana Capital in 2014, did not give a reason for the closure, adding that "most of the customers have not heard from us as we are still working with appropriate business partners and fellow travel agents to help make this transition for all customers as soon as possible".

It aims to "minimise disruption to the travel plans" of those who bought tickets to Hong Kong in a joint promotion with DBS Bank and Cathay Pacific. A DBS spokesman said: "We will be able to ensure that all customers who have taken part in the DBS Travel Promotion will not have their travels disrupted."

Misa Travel is also working with travel agencies Dynasty Travel and New Shan Travel to provide alternative travel options. Details will be provided later to individual customers, it added.

Misa Travel advised customers who need a refund for their air tickets to approach the respective airlines. Those with travel insurance should proceed with their claims.

"For customers who have yet to hear from us, we will be progressively responding to them in due course," it added.

 

Two other notable firms - Sky Travel and Tours, and S Travel - also shuttered recently. Both closed down last year. Experts said the outlook for traditional agencies seems bleak as travellers book holidays directly with airlines and hotels, or via third-party booking sites.

The National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (Natas), which Misa Travel was a member of, said it will "work with the relevant authorities to render assistance to affected consumers wherever possible".

Natas secretary-general Ram Samtani said it had not received any complaints against Misa Travel in the months prior to its closure.

He added: "Natas wishes to emphasise that while this is an unfortunate circumstance, customers should not be afraid to take their business to other professional travel agents. Natas members and the industry are willing to assist and offer their services where necessary."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 03, 2017, with the headline 'Misa Travel pledges to help customers hit by closure'. Print Edition | Subscribe