Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Nile River Cruise Operator Fails

3500 travellers impacted


Source: Cruise Critic/Sue Bryant

Nile river cruise specialist African Safari Club folded yesterday, March 16, leaving some 500 clients overseas in Egypt and Kenya, and thousands more with forward bookings affected.

River cruiser, MS Da Vinci
A notice appeared on the Swiss-owned company's Web site yesterday stating that there would be no further outbound African Safari Club flights, and that flight tickets for booked holidays would not be valid. According to a report by the trade newspaper TTG, the collapse will affect up to 3,000 passengers who have booked future Nile cruises and Kenyan safaris. Of the 500 currently holidaying overseas, up to 190 are in Egypt.

Financial details of the collapse have not been revealed, but tourism in Egypt has been severely affected by the uprisings that occurred earlier this year, while consumer confidence in Kenya is weak because of the unstable security situation there.

African Safari Club was founded more than 40 years ago by a group of Swiss investors, and had a U.K. office in Bromley, Kent. In 1990, it acquired the 5,600-ton ship Royal Star, which operated cruises around the Indian Ocean until 2008. Meanwhile, the company had in 2006 started offering Nile cruises on the M.S. Star of Luxor and later, the five-star M.S. Da Vinci and the four-star M.S. Fleurette.

Luckily for passengers, the UK arm of the company was government bonded and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) advises anybody with a booking to first contact their travel agent, or if they booked direct, their credit card company. All other customers should claim a refund from the CAA, information about which is now available on www.atol.org.uk.

All passengers currently on holiday will be flown home at the end of their trip, according to the CAA.

Notice on their website reads:
African Safari Club has ceased trading as of 16 March 2011

Customers due to travel
There are no more outbound African Safari Club flights. If you were due to travel on a African Safari Club holiday you should NOT go to your departure airport as your flight tickets will NOT be valid.

Any customers that booked through an agent should contact that agent in the first instance. Customers who made a direct booking using a credit card should contact their credit card provider. All other customers should make a claim from the CAA. Information about making a claim will be provided shortly at www.atol.org.uk

Customers currently abroad on holiday
The CAA will be making arrangements to ensure customers of African Safari Club can fly home at the end of their holiday. All inbound flights from Kenya and Egypt will operate as planned.