Kumuka has confirmed tours up to July 22 will still run. As well as the UK the worldwide company has branches in Canada, South Africa and Australia.
“Passengers travelling after this will need to contact the Travel Compensation Fund and their agent will need to make alternative travel arrangements,” the company said in a statement. However, this is an Australian fund – the firm are ATOL protected under their Air Travel Organiser’s Licence
The small company offered more than 600 tours to Africa, Asia, Australasia, Antarctica, North America, Latin America and Europe.
On its website, Kumuka branded itself as: “Established since 1983, Kumuka, whose name originates from Africa, and translates in to ‘the start of a journey’, has taken travellers to many parts of the globe, offering an extraordinary range of trips.”
Travel Compensation Fund chief executive Glen Wells told The Australian he had heard from “very concerned” travellers.
“As long as they have all their travel documents in order they should loge a claim to the TCF and in most cases the consumers will be protected,” he said.
“We don’t know the size of the collapse yet. It’s a huge company.”
Disatisfied customers have been posting on the firm’s Facebook page “I have 3 tours booked now what? one can only hope for a full refund” said Faye Anderson.
“There goes my honeymoon!” said Nic Howard.
Other travel companies are coming to the rescue of affected travellers.
Tucan Travel, which offers similar tours in Africa and South America, has extended its five per cent loyalty discount to Kumuka customers affected by the insolvency.
“This Kumuka offer can also be combined with our current 25% off All Group Tours promotion to give you 30% off. Booking period for this Kumuka Worldwide offer is extended to Wed 1st August,” Tucan said on its website.
Intrepid Travel has launched a hotline for agents and travellers, offering a 20% discount on equivalent tours to passengers who are travelling before 18 September, and a 15% discount for Kumuka passengers travelling between 19 September and 31 December.
“It is sad to see the closure of a company that we have long respected as a collaborator in building the adventure travel sector,” Interpid Travel managing director Geoff Manchester told Travel Weekly.
On The Go Tours released a statement on their Facebook page saying that they “would like to assist Kumuka customers by offering 15% discount off any Egypt or Jordan group tours. What’s more, we will match the tour price for any customers travelling on equivalent tours to alternative destinations.”
Topdeck Travel is offering 10% discount on all trips to anyone with an affected Kumuka booking, saying “We understand that many Kumuka passengers will need to look for alternative trips and so please contact us for advice on alternative trips for 18-39 year olds so that you can still have your dream trip.”
“It is sad to hear that Kumuka have ceased trading after nearly 30 years in the travel industry. Our thoughts go out to the staff and passengers of Kumuka at this time.” said Topdeck General Manager Bec Whiffin.
“We are hoping to offer clients caught up in the crisis the best deals and the most efficient options to coincide with their travel arrangements,” said Leanne Haigh of Acacia Africa. The company is offering a 20% discount on the majority of its overland tours booked by 31 August.