Travel Corp. is promising to maintain the four tour operators it
has bought from bankrupt Far&Wide Corp., saying the brands will
have none of the financial constraints that had faced their former
Also, in a move to restore public confidence, it announced a $10
million consumer protection plan to cover its North American brands
Travel Corp., which is based in the British Virgin Islands,
scooped up four of the beleaguered Far&Wide divisions at
auction Oct. 10, outbidding former owners who had hoped to reclaim
It bid a total of $10 million for African Travel, Lion World,
Grand European Tours and Swain Australia Tours. The sales were
expected to close Oct. 17.
Two other operators, High Country Passage and Pacific Bestours
International also were sold during the auction.
All six units had maintained their operations since
Far&Wide’s bankruptcy announcement Sept. 24.
The Kendall Group paid $225,000 for High Country. The group is
headed by Don Kendall, chief executive officer of Affinity
Expeditions, a marketing services firm based in Oakland, Calif.
Peter Yeung, a former owner of Pacific Bestours, paid $100,000
to regain the company.
An auction was scheduled Oct. 16 for IST Cultural Tours,
Journeys Unlimited, Regina Tours, Tourlite and Adventure
Far&Wide had 16 tour brands and negotiations were continuing
last week on the remaining divisions, which include Central
Holidays, Spanish Heritage Tours, Brian Moore International Tours,
Prism Holidays as well as Intercontinental Travel, a destination
For Travel Corp., the acquisitions will significantly expand its
U.S. portfolio, which already includes Trafalgar, Contiki Holidays,
Insight Vacations and AAT Kings.
The acquisitions are “well-established, solid brands, which
were, until recently, leaders in their markets,” said Gavin
Tollman, a Travel Corp. director. “Supported by our infrastructure,
we are confident that these businesses will be able quickly to
re-establish their predominant positions in the industry.”
Tollman also said that the company’s immediate focus is to
resolve client problems, and part of that effort is the new
consumer protection plan, which is insured by a third party.
It will stand in addition to the standard $1 million bond that
Travel Corp. has posted with the U.S. Tour Operators
Phil Bakes, Far&Wide Corp. president, said the six sales
will protect 94 percent of the money customers had paid to those
brands and probably will ensure payment of the more than $8 million
owned to the most senior secured creditor, Ableco Finance LLC, a
subsidiary of Cerberus Capital Management.
Ableco attorneys initially objected to the sale of Far&Wide
divisions, arguing for a Chapter 7 liquidation, but later they
“In short, we have been very successful at achieving the two
goals we announced when we were forced to file the Chapter 11: to
protect consumers and increase the recovery for the estate,” Bakes