We felt it was time to provide an update on how we see the Covid-19 situation and how it affects our forthcoming tours and workshops. We also wanted to inform you of a new facility we have put in place to provide extra reassurance and flexibility when booking new tours and workshops with us.
No doubt you are aware that the UK government has announced the opening of 'air bridges' to around 50 countries world-wide which will allow travel to those locations from the UK and on return will not require a quarantine period (unless a person we to develop Covid-19 symptoms, naturally).
These locations cover all of the countries we are planning to travel to in the immediate future. However, those countries may have their own restrictions in place and we need to consider these also. We will be in touch with you if you are booked on a tour as the tour approaches to discuss the plans for that tour.
As always we will only travel if the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice is that it is safe to do so and if we feel we can run a tour while taking care of your health and safety. This will always be our first priority.
It seems that travel insurance which includes cover for Covid-19 is now available for most people as indicated in this article.
FOR YOUR REASSURANCE
- If we have to cancel a tour or workshop you will be given the choice of moving your deposit to another tour or workshop or receiving a full refund.
- You can transfer your booking to any other tour or workshop up to 12 weeks prior to your date of travel.(Applies to any new bookings you make from 7th July 2020 onwards)
- If you cancel a booking we will attempt to re-sell your place for you. If we are successful, we will refund your deposit (less a £100 admin fee).
(Please note; If you decide to cancel your place on a tour due to Covid-19 or for any other reason and we are unable to re-sell your place for you (and so cannot refund your deposit less our admin fee), should the tour later be cancelled by us for any reason you will not be entitled to a refund. By cancelling your place on the tour or workshop you are terminating your contract with us).
We have also completed an in-depth risk assessment for running tours and workshops during the current Covid-19 situation.
Needless to say we will only be visiting hotels, cafes, restaurants and other venues which are practising Covid-19 safe procedures.
We will be sending a detailed PDF to all clients at the time balances are due to give them full details of all the measures we are putting in place as well as helpful answers to questions they might have about how tours and travel could be affected during these times. This is also available on request from Sarah in the office - please just email her if you would like to be sent a copy.
So, we are much more optimistic that most tours will now go ahead as planned and we look forward to travelling safely to beautiful places with you once again.
We wanted to give you an update, as far as is possible, on how we see the current Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic situation affecting our tours and workshops.
The first thing to say is that, as you can probably imagine, the situation remains unclear. It does appear that in many countries the measures being taken are proving effective and thankfully the situation is improving dramatically. In these areas, restrictions are slowly being lifted as the authorities try to open up again. However, no one really knows if there will be a second wave of infections.
We remain optimistic that travel will gradually open up but we also have to be realistic and realise that, at least until an effective vaccine is developed, things will not be as they were. Overseas travellers returning to the UK currently face 14 days in quarantine and the same applies to travel into many other countries (although the current FOC advice remains against all overseas travel at the moment). It also seems we need to expect delays at airports as additional measures will be in place to reduce infection risks.
We will not run any tours or workshops until the government advise it is safe to do so. At that time we will make our own risk assessments and make a judgement about whether tours should go ahead on a tour by tour basis. If a tour or workshop does go ahead then we will follow all current guidelines on health, safety and social distancing. It may be these guidelines that make running a tour impractical (such as transport issues, for example).
We will liaise with all of your clients booked on tours and workshops as soon as we know the status of their booking. It may seem that we are leaving the decision on a tours viability until very late. This is not by choice. We cannot cancel a tour until we have the Foreign & Commonwealth Office guidance for the dates of travel to a particular destination. If we cancel before this we are unable to reclaim your deposits from the hotels, airlines and other companies we have made bookings with on your behalf. Equally, you will probably not be able to claim any of your other expenses from your insurer. However, if we cancel following FOC instructions then we can usually get refunds on most monies we have paid out and we will, of course, offer to transfer your deposit to another tour or refund you in full. It is our recommendation that you don't cancel your booking with us ahead of this time as you probably won't be able to make a claim on our insurer for any losses (this will depend on the terms of your policy) and we won't be able to refund you if we can't sell your place to someone else. We are in the difficult position where we have to stick strictly to our terms and conditions during this crisis in order to protect the interests of all of our clients as a whole and Bailey Chinnery as a very small business. We hope you understand.
As is being widely publicised in the media, we are in the throes of a world-wide outbreak of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) virus and this is having a serious effect on travel.
We are taking a responsible approach to this and recognise our clients will be concerned about the effect the outbreak might have on tours and workshops booked with us. We want to use this page to communicate our up to date policy and guidance to you. Detailed information on specific tours will be communicated by email to clients directly.
Our primary concern is always the health, safety and well-being of our clients. For that reason we are monitoring daily the official advice coming from the FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) in the UK as well as direction and information from the World Health Organisation. Our decisions will not be based on media speculation.
If the FCO directs that travel to a specific country or region should cease we will comply immediately and cancel the tour. If the FCO issues this direction it is at this point that your travel insurance should take effect. Our terms and conditions will apply. (You can find a copy of our terms and conditions on every workshop page on our website). We will be happy to provide a copy of your invoice and covering letter for your insurance claim.
If you decide to cancel a tour or workshop with us due to the virus outbreak before such advice is issued by the FCO because of your own concerns, we will attempt to re-sell your place for you. If we are successful we will refund your deposit less our £100 admin fee. (this is our usual policy concerning cancellations). As per our terms and conditions, it is a term of your contract with us that you take out appropriate and adequate travel and health insurance for your booking. You may be able to make a claim on this, such as for flights booked.
If you feel you wish to cancel a tour or workshop, please contact us to discuss your options directly and we will do all we can to help.
As of 16.03.20 we have cancelled all tours up to and including 30.06.20 in line with the UK governments directive on ceasing all non-essential travel and social interaction. (Istanbul, Tuscany, Lanzarote & Valencia).
Further information can be found at the resources below: