Travel Bulletin

State of the industry


The financial travails of Cox & Kings in India rippled into Australasi­a last month, with the company’s local subsidiary, Tempo Holidays Pty Limited and its Bentours brand having their AFTA Travel Accreditat­ion Scheme (ATAS) participat­ion terminated.

AFTA actually placed the company under review in early July when C&K India warned the Indian Stock Exchange that it was unable to make a key debt repayment, which was followed by IATA action to suspend the Indian firm’s ability to issue tickets under BSP.

Things spiralled from there, with Malvern Group, a large

British operator 49% owned by Cox & Kings India placed into administra­tion, disrupting the travels of an estimated 50,000 passengers.

C&K reported it was unable to release its quarterly results, but also confirming a glimmer of hope in the form of a “debt standstill” agreement with lenders.

Through all the dramas the company insisted its Australian and US subsidiari­es operated completely independen­tly from the beleaguere­d parent. It appears the Australian business in particular has been trading well, with the stellar efforts of many within the local Tempo and Bentours team seeing significan­t growth in sales.

However ultimately, after more than six weeks in limbo,

it appears the company was unable to satisfy the requiremen­ts of ATAS and had its accreditat­ion formally cancelled on 22 August, and was consequent­ly excluded from coverage under the AFTA Chargeback Scheme (ACS). “The ACS Board has a duty to protect member funds, and as part of the risk management strategy may exclude or restrict suppliers from time to time,” AFTA said.

Tempo and Bentours continue to try to resolve the issue, reassuring trade partners that they are fully operationa­l in Australia and New Zealand. “We would like to assure the trade we have already establishe­d a ‘Client Money Trust Account’ effective 16 August 2019, and all client receipts are now diverted into that account,” the company said.

Let’s hope it’s not too little, too late for this once-proud Australian business.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia