Cox & Kings, The Americas—including its affiliate East India Travel Company—is no longer a member of the U.S. Tour Operators Association (USTOA), the USTOA reports. As a result, the luxury tour operator no longer participates in the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program.
A USTOA spokesperson confirmed to Luxury Travel Advisor that Cox & Kings ceased its U.S. operations Monday, October 14.
“Travel agents should be aware that purchases of Cox & Kings, The Americas products made prior to October 15, 2019, may be protected under the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program. Client deposits and payments thereafter will not be covered by the USTOA program,” said USTOA President & CEO Terry Dale in a written statement.
Passengers who have lost deposits or payments made prior to October 15 for travel with Cox & Kings, The Americas may be eligible to file claims for nonperformance of their tour under USTOA’s Travelers Assistance Program, the USTOA said. The claim form and procedure can be found at USTOA.com/travelers-assistance/coxandkingsusa. (Note: As of press time Wednesday morning, information on this website was still not available, although a message said it would be posted that day.)
On September 20, Virtuoso terminated its preferred supplier relationship with Cox & Kings.
“As part of our contract compliance process, we asked both companies to provide financial assurances,” explains Virtuoso SVP Global Product Partnerships Albert Herrera. “However, with continued negative financial reports from their India operations, our members began to lose confidence, which resulted in their termination. We shared the news with our membership and recommended that our advisors reconfirm reservations if they had bookings with either company, and contact the individual hotels being used in the tours to verify reservation details.”
“We were disappointed to have to pull our support of Cox & Kings, the Americas this past August but our priority was protecting our members, advisors and their customers," Alex Sharpe, president and CEO of Signature Travel Network, tells Luxury Travel Advisor. "We continue to work hand in hand with our advisors on any affected bookings to ensure their customer's vacation plans are not negatively impacted.”
The USTOA’s $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program requires each participating USTOA member to post $1 million security, which the USTOA can solely use in reimbursing travelers for tour payments or deposits lost in the event of bankruptcy, insolvency, cessation of business, or the failure to refund deposits or payments within 120 days following the cancellation of a tour or vacation package.
This story originally appeared on www.travelagentcentral.com.