BANGKOK, 17 January 2019: Considered one of Asia’s pioneers in the online travel agency space, Zuji has closed shop after 16 years selling flights and tours direct to travel consumers.
Zuji, a rising star for almost a decade, in recent years has suffered from stiff competition and faced the prospect of having to inject a substantial investment if it was to stay relevant.
Local media reports in Singapore and Hong Kong alleged Zuji failed to renew travel agency licenses in Singapore and Hong Kong, while payment debts owing to airlines mounted up.
According to Singapore Tourism Board’s license records the company was struck off the list 1 January and suffered the same fate in Hong Kong, 9 January. Without a license in the two territories it lost its ability to function commercially.
Late last year in a show of optimism Zuji announced “New site coming soon” only to be replaced later by the more familiar “error message”.
No details are available on what the booking site owes to its airline clients.
Sixteen airlines established Zuji in 2001, each reportedly investing USD50 million to USD100 million at a time when online travel was booming in Asia and competition was sparse.
The company was acquired by Travelocity in 2006 and sold to Webjet in 2013. It was finally sold it to Uriel Aviation Holdings in 2016.
The International Air Transport Association has removed from Zuji from its billing and settlement plan, which acts as a clearinghouse for payments between travel agencies and airlines.
The company remains obligated to either deliver travel arrangements already paid for, or make a full refund to its customers.