Port Promotions, a Frisco, Texas-based company that sells shore excursions to cruisers, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and shut down, according to attorney Mark A. Weisbart of Dallas, Texas. He said he filed the paperwork Sept. 9 in Texas Eastern Bankruptcy Court in Plano.
“The case was filed as Chapter 7, which involves the business shutting down and liquidating,” Weisbart told Travel Pulse. “A trustee was appointed in the case to administer the assets. That’s all I can tell you.”
The bankruptcy confirmation comes after travel agents told Travel Pulse they had difficulty getting through to Port Promotions. “Agents are worried because we can’t get a hold of them,” one agency president said. “It’s very unusual for them because they are usually at the pinnacle of support.”
Phone calls to Port Promotions on Sept. 11 were not answered and those who wanted to leave a voice-mail message at all extensions were told: “The voicemail box for this user is full. They cannot receive new messages at this time. Good-bye.” The same message was received at two local Frisco phone numbers for the company, also known as Shore Excursions by Port Promotions. Also, the online chat feature on the Port Promotions website showed this message: “Department is currently unavailable. Please leave a message.”
According to a LinkedIn profile, Gordon Barr is president of Port Promotions and another company called Shore to Sea Services, a travel and destination consultant listed at the same address as Port Promotions in Frisco. Calls to Barr’s number at Shore to Sea also received the greeting that his voicemail box was full and not accepting messages. Emails sent to Barr and to firstname.lastname@example.org did not receive an immediate response.
The Texas Attorney General’s office said it has received no complaints about Port Promotions.
Other companies that sell shore excursions stepped forward to offer assistance. ShoreTrips said it would do what it can to help travel agents and their clients book duplicate or similar tours. Co-Owner Barry Karp said customers who booked trips that are cancelled or unpaid can contest the charges on their credit cards. “We’ll be out there to help any travel agent who needs help,” Karp said.
ShoreTrips holds customers funds in an escrow account, Karp said, and pays its vendors after the shore excursion is completed. “We are very, very healthy,” he said. “We have an extremely high Dun & Bradstreet rating, and we’re well financed.” Founded in 2002, Milwaukee-based ShoreTrips has received an A-Plus rating as an accredited business from the Better Business Bureau.
MyExcursions.com also said it is available to assist travel agents with private and customized excursions around the globe. Company Owner Tim Harwood said it works on a direct basis with travel agents, not through automated bookings.