BANKRUPT Best Tours left in its wake a trail of outstanding debts, with interviews by TTG Asia e-Daily showing its key Asian markets such as Thailand, Vietnam and China being the worst hit.
Exotissimo Travel Group’s CEO Olivier Colomès said Best Tours’ outstanding debt was US$150,000, while a director of sales and marketing of a hotel in Phuket said the property was raking in an unpaid bill of less than a million baht (US$33,176) and that other hotels were suffering a few millions.
Over in China, a letter obtained by TTG Asia e-Daily issued by Best Tours product director Antoine Noens informing clients of the tour operator’s bankruptcy ended with the post-script: “Please be aware that our Beijing office is also a victim with a very large outstanding.”
Current Best Tours bookings are being paid for by a Belgium Travel Guarantee Fund that has designated Belgian travel company ESCAPE to deliver services to affected guests. But it is the outstandings that are giving the partners the sinking feeling.
“Will we get paid? I always have hope. But we also have to deal with suppliers…we have to find some fair deal as we are all working in the same industry,” said Colomès.
Interviews show that partners were caught unawares, even though Best Tours had not been paying up for months. A source said this did not ring the alarm bell because Best Tours was “always a late payer, but it always paid”.
By Sirima Eamtako