A travel company specialising in worldwide challenges for good causes is reported to have collapsed.
GBCE Ltd, trading as Student Adventures, ceased trading, forcing students to abandon plans for fund-raising trips.
As Nottingham University were about to check in for their flight to Tanzania via Dubai to climb Kilimanjaro, the organisers sent out an email saying they had gone out of business, the Independent reported.
The firm advised clients that while they could fly as planned, ground arrangements had been annulled: “We are unable to provide any services for you as a customer of ours whilst you are in-country in Tanzania.”
The message added: “We are deeply sorry that we have not been able to meet our commitments to you and it was our honest intention to fulfill (sic) our service and obligation to you.”
Hundreds more students are booked to travel to Africa with GBCE, mostly on challenges in aid of the Meningitis Research Foundation.
GBCE – which stood for Great Britain Charity Events – was founded in 2007 and was based in St Albans.
In terms of financial protection, the firm’s website asserts: “All payments received by us will be held in a separate client account and held there until the successful completion of the tour.”
The company was Atol-bonded until the end of March, but did not renew its licence with the Civil Aviation Authority, the newspaper reported
It is understood that many of the students who booked did so before the licence was revoked. They should therefore be covered by the Atol scheme and be entitled to a full refund.
Calls to the company were referred to an accountancy firm in Nottingham, Smith Cooper.
Student Adventures’ website says the accountants “will be able to deal with any questions you might have during office hours Monday to Friday”.
A post on the University of Portsmouth Students’ Union website said: “It has come to our attention this evening that one of our charity fundraising partners Student Adventures has gone into administration.
“We have had assurance that the students currently on the Inca trip are 100% safe and supported by the charities they are fundraising for and will continue their trip with no problems.
“We have no further information than this at this stage and we will continue to try and establish a clearer picture in due course.”
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