Hong Kong travel agency shuts, blames Covid-19 impact and impostor scams as industry watchdog says it has had about 140 calls linked to the closure

The authority said it had already fielded about 140 inquiries and requests for help involving a total of HK$360,000 (US$46,023) by Saturday connected to the agency.

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It added it was aware that New Star Travel, based in Tsim Sha Tsui, was making arrangements and would process compensation applications from clients in line with the rules of the Travel Industry Compensation Fund.

The authority said the company, founded in 2001, had provided written notice to it on February 9 that outlined its intention to stop trading on February 23, which was in line with legal requirements.

The authority added that travel firms were required to meet the obligations and legal responsibilities outlined in the Travel Industry Ordinance, even after licences were revoked or suspended.

The watchdog said earlier that if customers had receipts with levy stamps from the Travel Industry Compensation Fund, they were entitled to an ex gratia payment of up to 90 per cent of the outbound fare paid in the event of a company bankruptcy.

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The authority said on Sunday it had not had any complaints, inquiries or compensation applications related to bookings with the firm after it received notification of its closure.

It added it had started the established procedures for handling the cessation of business operations by a travel agency, including revoking its licence.

The Consumer Council added that it had not received any complaints about the business closure.

The travel watchdog said the city had 1,606 travel agents at the end of January and 5,393 tour guides.


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