The closure of local tour agency Misa Travel was due to a "business decision" by its major shareholder.
In a statement released by the company on Friday (June 2), two days since it ceased operations, the agency 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,” it said, adding that it was “deeply sorry” and understood the “disappointment and frustrations of our customers who are affected by the closure”.
The agency also said it was assisting its customers to continue with their travel plans or seek redress with their claims.
“We understand 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,” the company said.
The travel agency had closed a day after the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) served a notice of revocation under the Travel Agents Act (Chapter 334) after it found the company “unable to fulfil its obligations towards its customers”.
It led to Misa Travel shutting down its office at Hong Lim Complex, its website and Facebook page on Wednesday, with an online notice stating that “business and all services have been ceased with immediate effect”.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (Natas) Secretary-General Ram Samtani said the association had not received any complaints against Misa Travel, which is a Natas member, in the recent months prior to their sudden closure.
"Natas will work with the relevant authorities to render assistance to affected consumers wherever possible," Mr Samtani added.
Apart from working with DBS Bank and Cathay Pacific to minimise disruption to the travel plans of those who have bought the DBS Travel Deals Hong Kong tickets, Misa said it was “working with Dynasty Travel and New Shan Travel to see how they can best assist to provide alternative travel options to our customers”.
In a media statement, Dynasty Travel said it was preparing its staff "to help those who are affected in the best possible way so as not to disrupt their travel plans”.
It added that more updates would be directly communicated to the individual customers.
“For customers who need to get refund for their air tickets, kindly go directly to the respective airlines,” Misa Travel said. “For customers who have purchased Travel Insurance, we would advise to proceed with the claims in the time being.”
STB had earlier said in a media release on Wednesday that, in the event that Misa Travel could not be reached, or failed to provide the relevant service delivery or refund, consumers with applicable travel insurance ought to approach their insurance providers for assistance.
"Customers should not be afraid to take their business to other professional travel agents," Mr Samtani said. "Natas' members and the industry are willing to assist and offer their services where necessary. "
Misa thanked customers who had already heard from them for their understanding and support. “For customers who have yet to hear from us, we will be progressively responding to them in due course.”
This is not the first time a local travel agency has abruptly ceased operations.
In December last year, Sky Travel and Tours was also served a notice of revocation under the same act. Its closure affected a tour group bound for Japan on the same day.