More than a thousand Kiwi and Australian travellers' holiday plans are hanging in the balance after the liquidation of a travel agency which operated through GrabOne and Groupon.

The company, Sinorama NZ, operated as an agent for a Canadian travel company - Sinorama Incorporated.

The standalone company referred clients to Canada and the agents would then book Kiwi customers through the umbrella company.

A memo was sent to 1002 Kiwi and Australian customers who had trips booked and were affected by the move on Monday, when the company went into voluntary liquidation.


The liquidation affected customers who had booked from October 1 onwards. Tours and accommodation had been cancelled as a result of non-payment to the suppliers, the memo read.

"The company is not in a position to refund your money at the current time and it is unknown whether or when it will be in a position to do so."

"The liquidators will investigate the company activity and report back on any prospect of a recovery."

Liquidator Peri Finnigan of McDonald Vague said the company's director approached her company last week.

"It was struck off from the travel agency authority in Canada, and so it was forced to cease trading here."

"There's $1.1 million owing to the New Zealand customers, and about $650-odd thousand owing to the Australian customers for bookings that they've made.

The money owed was for forward bookings, and did not account for the airline tickets or tour costs.

Sinorama NZ was now under administration, Finnigan said, with PricewaterhouseCoopers managing this.


"Their money is sitting in Canada, so we're trying to get money out of PricewaterhouseCoopers and also the company itself."

"We are not getting the responses we need at this stage, but we will continue to seek that information."

Finnigan said the financial situation differed for customers, depending on how they had paid for their booking.

"Customers who paid direct to Sinorama Holidays LTD will have a claim against TAANZ - they hold a small bond... that will be distributed to those customers."

But customers who paid by other means, Finnigan said, like GrabOne or Groupon, would not be covered by this bond.

Customers clued up on the company's financial strife had begun commenting on its Facebook page.

"What is going on with my holiday, your website is gone, your phone numbers are gone, I WANT MY MONEY BACK," one wrote.

The official Sinorama Holiday NZ website was now inactive.

Finnigan said her office had been "inundated" with calls since Monday - to the point she had set up a specific email address for affected customers and asked them to use that instead.

"I've got solo parents calling me who have booked trips, and people on pensions who had been saving for years."

"I'm getting lots of horrible stories - it is really sad."

A liquidators report would be published by McDonald Vague later today when they had received confirmation as to the total money owed to customers.