Vantage files for bankruptcy, Singapore travel company buys its assets

Vantage files for bankruptcy, Singapore travel company buys its assets

“Vantage has sought customary relief from the courts to preserve the status quo pending completion of the sale,” said a statement from law firm Casner & Edwards LLP.

“Vantage has sought approval to complete the sale immediately, subject to higher and better offers submitted through a court-supervised sale process,” the statement said.

Founded by Hank Lewis, Vantage has been a mainstay in Boston tourism for 40 years. In recent years, the company has faced intense and ongoing criticism from customers for delaying refunds for canceled trips over the years, some dating back to the start of the pandemic.

In April, Vantage customers began complaining publicly about long-planned and paid trips being canceled at the last minute.

The company laid off an undisclosed number of workers last week, weeks after it said it was negotiating a sale, according to interviews with multiple laid-off employees and a copy of an internal email.

The statement did not say what the bankruptcy filing and sale of its assets would mean for customers owed refunds for trip cancellations, and company officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Vantage may owe customers millions of dollars in refunds, according to more than 800 complaints piled up by the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell.

Bankruptcy is a federal legal process that allows an indebted business to pursue an orderly process for distributing any remaining assets it may have among creditors. With debt exceeding assets, who among creditors gets paid first (in Vantage’s case, including refunds owed by consumers) is a key issue.

In the statement, Vantage struck hopeful words on behalf of United, saying it would “offer future opportunities for customers to experience the travel experiences and luxury they have come to expect,” but did not mention whether the company would be willing to let former Vantage customers Complete.

United describes itself on its website as “one of the fastest growing destination management companies in the Far East, with corporate offices in Singapore”.

New Zealand-based Heritage Expedition says on its website that for more than 35 years it has “pioneered conservation-oriented small ship expedition voyages to some of the wildest, least explored and biologically rich places on Earth, including Antarctica, Japan and Southeast Asian islands.”

Vantage’s most popular cruise ships accommodate fewer than 180 passengers, and its ocean and river cruises and land expeditions emphasize cultural exploration for the “discerning traveler,” according to the company’s website. It also caters to women traveling alone.

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