Singapore

It looks like the end of the road for online travel agent Zuji

This article is more than 12 months old

Online travel booking site Zuji appears to have ceased business, after failing to renew its travel agent licenses in both Singapore and Hong Kong.

The Singapore Tourism Board told The Straits Times Zuji's license lapsed on Dec 31 and it can no longer provide travel products and services here.

The South China Morning Post reported last week that the Hong Kong-based operator had let its travel agent license expire and owed customers there thousands of dollars in refunds.

Zuji said in a Facebook post the same day it was experiencing "technical difficulties" with processing refunds.

Signs surfaced a few months ago that there were issues at Zuji, founded in 2002 as one of the earliest online travel agents in Asia.

In November, it was suspended from issuing airline tickets through the International Air Transport Association's (Iata) centralised air ticket billing service as it had failed to pay up for tickets it had sold to customers.

It also cut staff in its Singapore office, and said its booking site would be "temporarily closed" in preparation for launching a new platform in the first quarter of this year.

That appears to be off, with Zuji's Singapore and Hong Kong sites replacing their "new site coming soon" with error messages.

Zuji did not respond to requests for comment.

Its Novena Square office, which was largely empty when The Straits Times visited in November, remained shut with the lights off yesterday.

The Consumers Association of Singapore said it received 33 complaints against Zuji in the past year relating to delays in refunds, among other issues.

Ms Joey Loh, who paid Zuji more than $1,000 for a round-trip flight from Singapore to Osaka on Vietnam Airlines, cancelled her booking two months before she was due to travel in December and received an e-mail promising a refund within 12 to 16 weeks.

She is still waiting.

TOURISM & TRAVEL