27 Nov 2022

'Ethical' travel company goes bust, leaving customers out of pocket

9:34 pm on 27 November 2022
Airplane in the sky at sunset

We Are Bamboo sold holidays and volunteer experiences in developing countries. Photo: 123RF

A New Zealand-based company specialising in "ethical" travel has gone bust, leaving hundreds of customers out of pocket.

We Are Bamboo, which sold holidays and volunteer experiences in developing countries, wrote to customers at the end of October saying Covid and adverse publicity on social media had killed the business.

A statement on its website says: "There is a small group of individuals who were not prepared to wait, and their actions and online influence have broken us, which impacts us all."

More than 1000 people have joined the "Bamboo rip off" group on Facebook while an online petition on change.org called We Are Bamboo - We Want Our Money Back - has more than 1200 signatures.

Australian Scott Dousha, who started the Facebook group, said he was driven by frustration, after the company directors - Lower Hutt man Colin Salisbury and Mark Foster-Murray - repeatedly failed to front.

"In my view it's completely narcissistic behaviour to blame us.

"It wasn't us who destroyed the company. They took thousands of dollars from the New Zealand government during Covid and they kept taking thousands of dollars from customers.

"That was our money and they took it."

Dousha and his partner are more than $14,000 out-of-pocket, including $6000 they paid to We Are Bamboo more than two years ago for a Uganda trip that was delayed several times, plus non-refundable flights.

He said he asked for his money back in 2020 when the tour was first cancelled, but was told it was not possible at that time, and the tour would be rebooked.

The company continued to accept bookings and deposits right up until the time it folded, he said.

Salisbury and Foster-Murray, who is based overseas, have removed social media posts showcasing their lavish lifestyles.

"Foster-Murray got married in a castle in Wales in 2020 and Colin Salisbury has been building a yacht and boasting about how he's going to sail around the world."

No one from We Are Bamboo could be reached for comment.

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