Coronavirus: creditor serves Hong Thai Travel Services with winding-up petition but HK agency blames delay in fund transfers for overdue payment

03-Aug-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

One of Hong Kong’s biggest travel agencies has been served with a winding-up petition by another tour operator as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the industry.

But Hong Thai Travel Services on Friday said the outstanding payment was merely the result of a delay in fund transfers, and assured the public that it remained optimistic and financially stable despite the challenges of the past seven months.

“We have already prepared the funds for payment,” the company said in response to the petition filed on Thursday by creditor Webport, trading as Scandinavian tour operator RTS. “We believe the problem can be resolved very quickly.”

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RTS is a business-to-business tour operator which provides destination management of groups and individual travellers in Northern Europe, including countries such as Iceland, Denmark and Latvia.

The High Court has scheduled the first hearing on November 4.

The Hong Kong-based agency is one of the oldest in the city, boasting the largest number of customers for 14 consecutive years, after it began offering tours around the world in 1966.

But its business plummeted this year as Covid-19 resulted in border closures, travel restrictions and social-distancing measures that forced global tourism to a near standstill.

The World Tourism Organisation recorded a 56 per cent year-on-year drop in tourist arrivals, or a $320 billion loss in international tourism receipts, between January and May, according to figures released on Tuesday.

Hong Thai Travel Services began cancelling tours in January in light of the coronavirus crisis.

The first affected tours were those travelling to and through Wuhan, the mainland Chinese city where the first cluster of cases was reported.

Such cancellations later extended to other parts of the mainland, then to popular Asian destinations such as Vietnam, Taiwan and South Korea and later to the rest of the world.

It also cancelled all local tours before July 31, due to social-distancing measures limiting the size of public gatherings.

But it also began making preparations for the day when tourism would finally return, announcing last month discounts for its “early bird packages” starting from September to the first quarter of 2021, to far-flung destinations such as Dubai and Slovenia.


Category: Hong Kong

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