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Coronavirus update - 23 March 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.
We are all acutely aware of the gravity of the situation and the fact that as things stand all foreign travel is banned, as well as movement within those countries we visit, including recreational cycling. These measures are currently only temporary, although it is very possible and indeed likely that they will be extended. However currently they are due to expire before our season starts.
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). By the time these payments start becoming in the middle of April we will have a clearer idea of how the government’s policy for controlling the outbreak is panning out, as well as those of the countries we visit.
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 deposit 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. We will revisit the position at the end of April and make a decision then as to whether there is a reasonable chance that your holiday may still go ahead. 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 your departure is due before 16 June 2020 and 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 will be published by Easter 2020.
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.
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.
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).
In any case, if you have travelled from or through an area which is affected you will have a personal responsibility to declare this to us and to the local authorities; if you have visited such an area then this may preclude you travelling and this will be a case for invoking your travel insurance. For example, if you have visited Italy then you would need to declare this and most countries would put you in quarantine on arrival, thus meaning you were unable to participate in your chosen tour.
Please do get in touch if you have any questions on [email protected]