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Coronavirus update - 21 August 2020
In common with most tour operators, we are carefully monitoring the situation in the UK and Europe regarding the Coronavirus outbreak.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issues guidance for travellers and this official advice is where we will take our lead from. In this day and age there are multiple sources of good information, bad information and false news, not to mention the unreliability of social media ‘news’, so we must take our lead from the official government source only.
At today's date we are planning on running our Lands End to John O Groats Grand Tour in September; our tour of Provence and the Luberon at the end of September; and our Spanish end to end in October. The news today is that restrictions are being imposed in some parts of Spain and rest assured we are monitering the situation extremely closely; the areas we visit are not affected right now but of course that may change. If you are booked with us to travel to Spain then you should assume all is going ahead as planned. If the situation makes it impossible to travel closer to departure then we will be in touch 30 days before the start.
Our usual payment policy is for payment of the holiday cost 6 weeks prior to travel. For obvious reasons the holiday industry needs to request payment in advance – more so when acting as a tour operator as we do, and not just as an intermediary as travel agents do. We continue to feel that 6 weeks is a sensible payment window (a lot of companies have 8 or even 12 weeks as their payment date). However, for the time being we will not be issuing customers with balance invoices as we do not feel it is fair to hoist upon them a bad choice between feeling they don't want to come and thus cancelling (and thereby forfeiting their deposits), or paying their balance when it is unclear whether their holiday will go ahead. We also wish to give our hotel partners the very best chance of recovering from this devastating situation by not asking for refunds from them until we really have to. In the meantime, the fact that the balance has not been paid in line with the timescale on our T&Cs will in no way effect the vailidity of your booking.
We fully appreciate however that some of our customers may be hesitant or nervous about travelling. Therefore, if you wish to amend your holiday to another date in 2020 or 2021 please get in touch. It does not need to be the same tour as you were originally booked on and any difference in price will be paid / refunded as appropriate; all deferments to next year will see the 2020 price honoured meaning you are protected from any 2021 price rises which may occur (applies to exising booked customers only; new bookings will pay the price prevailing at time of booking). There will be no alteration fees in this instance. Dates for 2021 are listed on our website - as always please just enquire if we can offer any other dates for particular tours. We very much hope that you will seriously consider deferring rather than cancelling for the reasons above; many of the areas we visit rely heavily on tourism and we want our small, family run hotels to still be around when we are able to go back. The ability to defer to later in 2020 or to 2021 at the price prevalent when you booked is our 'Coronavirus Guarantee' and applies to all bookings currenly affected, or affected in future. You may have read about 'refund vouchers' but we will not fob you off with these. Once you have opted for deferment our normal Terms and Conditions apply and the new holiday is essentially treated as any new booking would be.
This is our simple Coronavirus Guarantee: If your holiday is cancelled you can have an immediate refund or defer to another holiday in either 2020 or 2021 at the same price. No ifs. No buts.
We advise checking your travel insurance (as required by our terms and conditions) to verify that you are covered for what is now a ‘notifiable disease’ in case we are prevented from travelling to areas where advice from the FCO is not to travel. Some policies bought before the outbreak will automatically cover you; those bought afterwards will probably / possibly not. You should also read the smallprint carefully if you have any underlying conditions of which you are aware.
Whilst some restrictions may start to be eased we must of course wait and see if those relaxations will affect our tours; however there are also restrictions such as quarantine potententially being imposed on return to the UK, which as well as affecting our customers will also affect our operational ability significantly. In the event that the FCO is advising against travel and your departure is imminent (within a fortnight) then we will be in touch to discuss your options. Currently only Spain is affected by an imposition of quarantine on return (of those countries in which we have upcoming tours).
Please note that we have developed guidelines for minimising Covid 19 risk and these will be explained on your holiday's initial briefing; there is nothing overly onerous, just common sense, in addition to which we will of course be adhering to local laws and regulations. As outdoor enthusists this will affect us less than some but we are keen to stress that we will be seeking to mitigate as much risk as possible.
Please note that changing your mind and no longer wishing to travel, if the FCO has not issued advice against travelling, is dealt with in the same way as a normal cancellation and normal cancellation fees will apply (see our Terms & Conditions).
Please do get in touch if you have any questions on [email protected]