Travel company EWT collapses, owing millions to high school students and their families

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A travel company that organised overseas school trips has collapsed into liquidation, owing more than $2 million to hundreds of high school students. 

David Coyne from BRI Ferrier was appointed as liquidator of Educational World Travel (EWT) on November 30. 

The business has been operating overseas trips for school students, including its G’Day USA program, for more than 32 years, according to information available from its LinkedIn page. 

A Dun and Bradstreet listing for the business says it had around 20 employees.

Students in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria have been affected by the company’s collapse, with Coyne telling the ABC more than 800 students and their families are owed $2.3 million by the company. 

However, these students and families, who had been paying for upcoming trips in instalments, are considered unsecured creditors of the business. 

A statement from the company, seen by the ABC, said EWT’s liquidation “is a direct result of the devastating effect of COVID-19 on the travel industry, particularly international travel”. 

The company’s website, Facebook account and Instagram page are no longer available, and a phone number listed for the company was disconnected when SmartCompany tried calling this morning. 

One parent affected by the liquidation of EWT told the ABC his family had paid the company $2,000 towards a $6,000 trip for his daughter, who had been working in a local butcher’s shop in Bathurst to contribute towards the trip. 

“I feel sorry for the kids that have worked jobs after school to contribute to these payments,” Terry Steele said. 

“I feel sorry for the parents that have worked hard to come up with the money, but … I don’t believe there’ll be any money coming back.”

Another Bathurst parent, Natalie Cox, said she had tried to stop payments for her daughter’s trip when the pandemic began, but the company told her on multiple occasions that there was no need to do so, saying a decision about postponing or cancelling trips would be made later in 2020. 

SmartCompany has contacted liquidator David Coyne for further information.

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