For nearly 30 years, adventure travel company Kumuka Worldwide had been seen as a tour operator that provided affordable and high quality itineraries to practically every corner of the globe. The company’s extensive catalog included more than 600 tours to such far away places as Africa, Antarctica, Australia and more. But that all changed recently when Kumuka announced that it was going out of business, leaving many customers scrambling to make alternate travel plans while also trying to find a way to get their money back.
About two weeks ago, U.K. based Kumuka posted a message on its website announcing that the company was suspending trading and going into voluntary liquidation. They informed customers that if they booked on a trip that was departing prior to July 22, their tours were safe and would go off without a hitch. But those that had booked travel after that date were simply told to “re-book with another operator.”
Of course, booking with another company is much easier if you have the funds but it seems Kumuka’s customers will need plenty of patience if they hope to get their money back. Kumuka recommends that travelers in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada contact the Travel Compensation Fund to begin the process of getting their cash back. U.K. customers are told that their money is protected by that country’s Civil Aviation Authority while Americans are advised to make a claim with their credit card company or to contact their travel agent.
Kumuka’s competitors were quick to offer aid to the company’s abandoned clients. Tucan Travel extended their loyalty discount program to Kumuka customers while Intrepid Travel and Dragoman are offering special deals too. That’s small consolation, however, for those who saved for months in order to take a trip and now must wait to receive compensation before they can book again.
As someone who loves to travel, and plans his trips weeks and months in advance, I can’t imagine how crushed I would feel if I were one of these customers. Imagine looking forward to getting away to a dream destination only to have the rug pulled out from under you just before you go. Seems like the very definition of disappointment to me.