Singapore tour agency Misa Travel shuts down under STB orders

Tourists take photos by the Merlion in Singapore. — Reuters picTourists take photos by the Merlion in Singapore. — Reuters picSINGAPORE, June 1 – Local tour agency Misa Travel has ceased operations yesterday, a day after the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) served a notice of revocation under the Travel Agents Act (Chapter 334) after it found the company “unable to fulfil its obligations towards its customers”.

It led to Misa Travel shutting down its office at Hong Lim Complex, its website and Facebook page on Wednesday, with an online notice stating that “business and all services have been ceased with immediate effect”. 

The notice is also seen on other travel websites run by Misa Travel, such as like www.airfares.com.sg,www.landtours.com.sg and www.getaways.com.sg

It added that a team “will be contacting passengers in the next couple of days” to provide more details on claims. 

The notice advised that customers who have unfulfilled trips or require assistance can write to[email protected]. They can also send a text message to 92294968.

In a media release yesterday, STB said in the event that Misa Travel cannot be reached or failed to provide the relevant service delivery or refund, consumers with applicable travel insurance should approach their insurance providers for assistance.

“Consumers who are not covered by travel insurance can approach the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) or the Small Claims Tribunal (SCT), where appropriate,” the STB added.

Known for its affordable tour packages, Misa Travel had been in business since October 1994.

A Misa Travel customer whom TODAY spoke to said she was shocked at the sudden developments.

Patricia Liau, 45, had booked a trip to Hong Kong for her family of four on May 2 with the agency, paying S$199 (RM615.72) for each return air ticket as part of a promotion between Misa Travel and DBS bank. 

Liau and her family are supposed to depart on June 7 and return on June 10, but she is now worried that her holiday will be cancelled.

“I called DBS and their customer service operator told me the bank will pay Cathay Pacific for any outstanding amount to cover for our flights,” said the sales account manager who had previously booked a travel package to Thailand with Misa Travel.

“I’m very shocked, my previous experiences with Misa Travel were good and they seemed reliable. 

“Now I’m worried my holiday will not materialise. But I bought travel insurance so, if anything goes wrong, I would be compensated.”

This is not the first time a local travel agency has abruptly ceased operations. 

In December last year, Sky Travel and Tours was also served a notice of revocation under the same act. Its closure affected a tour group bound for Japan on the same day. 

STB also warned and advised consumers to take precautionary measures such as purchasing travel insurance upon payment of the travel plans, and to pay by instalments instead of making full payment. — TODAY