Adventure travel company that left Kilimanjaro trekkers stranded says it’s gone into liquidation

By Lisa James
Home » Adventure travel company that left Kilimanjaro trekkers stranded says it’s gone into liquidation

An adventure holiday boss who told customers he hadn’t booked their trip shortly before it was due to begin has announced the business has now gone into liquidation.

A message on the website of Aspire Adventures in Wales apologised for ‘distress and disruption’ caused to customers and advised them to see if they can get a refund through their credit or debit card issuer.

The message added that Director Jason Rawes was sorry ‘especially to those who had just arrived in Tanzania’. 

The clients he was referring to are a group of 26 people who had booked a Kilimanjaro trek to raise money for Hope4, a charity that helps orphans and refugees in Moldova.

Group members received an email from Jason on Friday 19 January informing them none of the money they had paid him over the past nine months had gone towards booking the trip or securing accommodation. Five of the trekkers were already in Tanzania when the email was sent, with others either on flights or on their way to UK airports to fly out.

Each climber reportedly paid between £2,000 and £3,000 for the trip, paying a total of around £84,000 to Aspire Adventures. A source close to the trekkers told that approximately £38,000 had been raised in sponsorship for the charity and the Express reported the source said Jason was still accepting funds for the trek ‘right before he did the dirty on us’.

In his email, Jason said he was ‘sorrier than I could ever explain’ adding: “Over the past week we have been hit by a series of events outside of our control with cash in the bank and payments needed. I have tried everything, and I do mean everything. We have now just run out of options.

“The reality is we cannot make payment for what is needed for your Kilimanjaro trip.”

A post on the Aspire Adventures website on Thursday informed customers that the company is no longer trading. It added that Jason has ‘been in crisis for the past week’. According to reports, he had gone missing over the past few days, but has since been found.

The message on the Aspire site says: “It is with deepest regret that we must confirm that Aspire Adventures & Expeds Limited is filing for liquidation and as a result has currently ceased trading.

“Jason Rawles, Director, is deeply sorry for all the people this will impact, he knows very well the distress and disruption this news will cause, especially to those who had just arrived in Tanzania. Jason had fought tirelessly to try to prevent this situation by gathering the necessary funds but circumstances beyond his control and increased costs meant that these attempts were sadly not successful.  

“This situation has taken a very heavy toll on Jason personally, he has been in crisis for the past week or so and we have been very worried for him.  Sadly, this has impacted his response to this situation and his subsequent communications. Thankfully, Jason is now committed to getting himself well again and he will work with the insolvency practitioner to minimise the impact of this on customers as much as is humanly possible.”

The message said more details would be sent to customers ‘as soon as possible’ adding: “In the meantime… it would be advisable to contact card issuers to explain the situation and to see if any refunds are available through that route.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to reimburse the group, which has had to pay for more accommodation and another trekking company in order to fulfil the trek.

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