Excite Holidays placed under third party administration

The Australian companies that operate travel wholesaler
Excite Holidays have been placed into receivership.

Excite Holidays posted on its website Friday that three
executives at KPMG have been appointed voluntary administrators of Global
Travel Holdings and Excite Holidays.

The collapse of the companies comes just a day after Excite
closed its platforms to new bookings.

According to the Australian Securities and Investment
Commission, voluntary administration is designed to resolve a troubled company’s
future direction quickly.

“If it isn’t possible to save the company or its business,
the aim is to administer the affairs of the company in a way that results in a
better return to creditors than they would have received if the company had
instead been placed straight into liquidation,” the ASIC website says.

Excite Holidays, which claimed to offer access to more than
400,000 hotels and apartments and 100,000 activities in more than 150 cities
around the globe, reportedly laid off a number of workers just before
Christmas. Shortly thereafter, it said it began experiencing “platform issues.”

American travel agent Pat Ogle-Collins of Wizard of Odysseys
in Virginia said that after seeing the notice of issues on a Facebook page, she
contacted hotels she had booked through Excite Holidays and was told the
reservations were good, but that payment is not made until after the stay.

To be safe, Ogle-Collins said she has rebooked clients whose
reservations were made through the wholesaler, which had offices around the
globe.

Sally Black, founder of the Vacation Kids agency in
Pennsylvania, said a few tours she had booked through Excite were “mysteriously”
canceled over the holidays, but her clients have been notified that refunds are
being processed.

She said she and her clients are waiting and watching for
refunds.

According to Australian media reports, Excite Holidays in
December 2018 voluntarily withdrew from the Australian Federation of Travel
Agents Travel Accreditation Scheme that protects travelers from losses when
companies go under.  

Excite Holidays’ website indicated the company is an
associate member of the U.S. Tour Operators Association, which has a similar
protection program, but USTOA president and CEO Terry Dale said Wednesday that
the company is no longer an active member.

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