Pandaw ceases river cruise operations

Southeast Asia river cruise operator Pandaw has shut down, citing the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on international leisure travel.

Pandaw said that the continued closure of its destinations in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and India, as well as the political situation in Myanmar, gave the company “no alternative but to cease its river cruise operations due to the lack of financial liquidity and failure to find additional funding in the wake of the Covid 19 crisis.”

“This is a very sad moment for me, my family, our crews and clients,” said founder Paul Strachan in a statement. “It marks the end of an era for all of us after 25 years of real adventure. We are also heartbroken for our 300-plus crew members and shoreside personnel who have stood by Pandaw and were hoping to get going again next year.”

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The river cruise line said that forward bookings for 2022 had been strong, but that it lacks the funding to continue the layup of its 17 ships for another year, and for what would be essential refurbishments to prepare to resume operations. Pandaw also cited the still “highly uncertain” timing of when a resumption may occur. 

Pandaw said the company had “worked tirelessly over the past year to find new investors or other forms of finance to carry the company through, but without success.” 

Founded in 1995, Pandaw was among the pioneers in river cruising in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and India. Despite the closure of Pandaw Cruises, the Pandaw Charity, which has been supporting people in Myanmar during the crisis there, will continue its work under the guidance of its trustees, Pandaw said. 

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