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Go Travel South Agency Grounded
February 24, 2010

Travellers have been left scrambling by the sudden shutdown of the popular Go Travel South travel agency.

In a tersely worded statement posted to its website Wednesday night, the agency cited “economic circumstances” for the decision to cease operations and instructed clients to contact credit card companies for refunds.

Attempts to reach Go Travel were unsuccessful, and a recorded message on its 1-800 line directed clients to its website “for a current update on our company status.”

“We are extremely sorry that you will not be departing on your planned vacations,” Go Travel said on its website.

Travellers are being warned not to show up at the airport for scheduled flights booked with Flair Air, which was affiliated with Go Travel, “as they will not be departing.”

Go Travel terminated its contract with carrier Flair Airlines Ltd., which informed travellers it would fulfil obligations to transport passengers scheduled to return to Canada from Thursday to Sunday only, and that it would immediately cease transporting Go Travel clients from Canada to their destinations.

Ottawa resident Fouad Nayel, 26, had booked time off work and a vacation package to spend spring break in Cancun with three friends.

Now he’s left looking for answers.

Nayel said he had no luck reaching the agency or his credit card company.

“We’re in a bit of a predicament,” Nayel said. “We’re wondering if we’re going to get the money back in time to book another ticket, and we’ve all booked the time off work, so we’re not too happy.”

Kanata resident Brian Beauchamp, 42, had booked a trip to Punta Cana through Go Travel, and was preparing to leave on March 6.

“We just booked it last week, kind of last minute, and now this,” Beauchamp said of the trip he was taking with three friends.

He is optimistic his money will be refunded, but said his credit card company told him it would take 45 to 90 days to credit his account, after he provides an itinerary and e-ticket.

Inder Handa, president of local agency Handa Travel, is concerned about travellers who are abroad.

“I’m sure there are thousands of people who are unhappy today. I just fear for those people who are stranded,” Handa said.

Go Travel was not registered with the Travel Industry Council of Ontario, a provincially mandated organization which governs about 3,000 travel retailers and wholesalers, offering consumer protection through a compensation fund.

As recently as a Dec. 28 posting on its Facebook page, Go Travel South said “sales are booming,” boasting about “good old supply and demand” for winter destinations. The most recent posting, on Feb. 19, urged clients to take advantage of a “buy one get the second 50% off” promotion.

The Facebook group was taken down Wednesday night.

Source: Toronto Sun

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