Zuji suspends website, but says 'no worries'

Local | Staff reporter 7 Dec 2018

Hongkongers could have their holiday plans ruined after flight and hotel booking website Zuji suspended its website in the SAR following payment troubles in Singapore.

The travel agency has asked customers who booked air tickets to e-mail the company if they run into any problems.

It added that customers who had their bookings confirmed yesterday or before will have to contact the airlines and hotels directly for updates on their status.

Zuji's website will be back online in the first quarter of next year, a notice said.

Alice Chan Cheung Lok-yee, executive director of the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong, said so far no complaints have been lodged.

She said Zuji's person-in-charge has assured the council the firm has only suspended sales, but its customer service department is operating as normal. As a result, customers will be able to continue contacting Zuji if they have queries about their bookings.

According to the council's website, outbound travelers may receive compensation equaling to 90 percent of their loss from the Travel Industry Compensation Fund if a licensed travel agency closes down.

In Singapore last month, Zuji cut staff and suspended its website, which it claimed will be back online next year.

The International Air Transport Association suspended Zuji from using the its centralized airline ticket billing service last month after the company failed to pay airlines for the tickets it had sold.

A Zuji spokeswoman in Hong Kong said the Singapore office is being streamlined in order to avoid an overlap with the SAR.

Zuji's strategy is to base its headquarters in Hong Kong, she said.

Zuji was acquired by Uriel Aviation Holdings, a Hong Kong-based travel technology group, in 2016 for A$56 million (HK$315.1 million).

Travel industry experts widely believe Chinese conglomerate NHA Group ultimately controls Zuji, and that in turn, the group is rumored to be in financial woes due to its over-expansion in 2015 and 2016, and has been selling assets to stay afloat.

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