Travel company collapses as agents fume over ‘unpaid’ bills

 

A major online travel wholesaler has collapsed and gone into voluntary administration after blaming "platform issues" on the sudden cancellation of bookings, leaving holiday-makers stranded and agents furious.

Global professional services firm KPMG have been appointed as administrators of Excite Holidays companies operating in Australia and have commenced an "urgent assessment" of the business.

Excite Holidays co-founders George Papaioannou and Nicholas Stavropolous. Picture: Facebook
Excite Holidays co-founders George Papaioannou and Nicholas Stavropolous. Picture: Facebook

Excite - which exclusively offers deals to travel agents - is based in Sydney but also has offices in New Zealand, the US, Canada, UK, Greece, Singapore and Thailand.

Only the Australian-owned entities have been placed into administration.

Excite was founded in 2002 by George Papaioannou and Nicholas Stavropolous.

One of the appointed administrators, KPMG Australia restructuring services partner Morgan Kelly, said there were "more questions than answers" at the early stage of the administration process.

"However, we have now commenced an urgent assessment of the business and further information will be made available to affected parties as soon as possible," he added.

 

Excite Holidays co-founder George Papaioannou accepting Travel Weekly’s Wholesaler Of The Year Award. Picture: Facebook
Excite Holidays co-founder George Papaioannou accepting Travel Weekly’s Wholesaler Of The Year Award. Picture: Facebook

It comes after Excite posted a message from its Facebook page - which has since been taken down - on December 30 informing followers it was experiencing "system issues".

Frustrated travel agents say they are being caught up in the fallout, with clients arriving at hotels to find their accommodation booked through Excite has not been paid for.

One NSW travel agency owner, who asked not to be named, said her business was trying to work out how much it is out of pocket after being left to foot accommodation bills.

"It's just frustrating how companies can do this," she said.

"We are just the middle man that gets caught out all the time."

Excite's creditors are due to meet for the first time on January 22, according to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

The company did not respond to requests for comment.

For more information, customers and creditors of Excite Holidays can email au-fmexcite@kpmg.com.au.



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