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COVID-19 policy updates from major tour operators

COVID-19 policy updates from major tour operators

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

TORONTO — With COVID-19 leading to travel restrictions around the world, tour operators have been forced to re-evaluate their plans for the coming months, with many suspending operations and updating their travel policies to accommodate impacted clients.

Here’s the latest from top tour operators. Updates will be added as soon as they become available.

LATEST UPDATES: May 22 – G Adventures; May 19 – Rocky Mountaineer; May 14 – Sunwing; May 13 – Globus family of brands; May 11 – ACV and Hola Sun

 


 

ACV

UPDATED MAY 11: ACV has notified the trade that Air Canada’s operating schedule for June 2020, while certainly reduced, includes service to Cancun, Varadero, Cayo Coco, Montego Bay, Barbados, Paris, Athens and Barcelona. ACV’s Managing Director, Nino Montagnese tells Travelweek that packages through ACV will be based on resort availability, as some resorts remain closed amid the pandemic. ACV won’t have its full lineup, as in normal times, but then again, capacity is reduced as well. “We are only going into those destinations where we will have hotels to sell,” says Montagnese.

Last month ACV made changes to its policies, including changes to guidelines for future travel credits, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic…

Automatic extension of future travel credit validity: Clients with cancelled Air Canada Vacations bookings scheduled to depart between March 4 and May 31, 2020, inclusively, will receive a future travel credit valid for 24 months from the date of cancellation. These revised credits will be sent to travel agents directly by email.

Transfer a future ravel credit to another person: Clients can now choose to transfer the totality of their future travel credit to another person with no change to the validity of the credit.

Residual value on future travel credits: If a customer books a new package that is less expensive than the value of the future travel credit, any residual value from the lower fare will remain on the customer’s file for future use.

Cruise and Group bookings: ACV continues to work with cruise lines and hotel partners to ensure it can provide more flexibility to travel agents and customers based on each partner’s policies.

ACV has extended its free CareFlex travel protection plan for bookings made up to April 15, 2020. The plan applies to select destinations and resorts in Las Vegas, Mexico and the Caribbean, Hawaii, and Europe for bookings made between now and April 15, 2020, for travel until April 30, 2021. As part of the program, travellers are able to change their bookings, transfer their packages and cancel with an in-house travel credit and/or a partial refund up to three days before departure. When making bookings online, travel agents will need to ‘select’ CareFlex at $0 during the booking flow.

All Air Canada Vacations bookings scheduled to depart Canada between March 19 and April 30, 2020, inclusively, are cancelled. Affected customers whose bookings are cancelled will automatically receive a full credit for future travel valid for 24 months. For ACV clients with Group bookings, the future travel credit will be applicable to the same destination and same hotel.

 


 

BUSABOUT

UPDATED APRIL 21: Busabout and Shamrocker have suspended all Europe and Ireland departures from May 1 to June 30, 2020, and all Asia departures from May 1  to Sept. 30 2020. All passengers with trips impacted by the suspension will receive a full credit of monies paid to use on any future Busabout trip in 2020, 2021 or 2022, anywhere in the world. Alternatively, Busabout has just released a range of dates for 2021, across a number of its trips and can re-book clients for a 2021 date, retaining all their current discounts. More details are here.

 


 

CIE TOURS

CIE has suspended the operation of its Italy and Iceland departures through May 15, as well as all Ireland and UK departures through April 30.

At this time all other tours are operational, but CIE will be updating its website and contacting customers when and if this changes.

CIE’s customer service team will assist all guests affected in rebooking the land portion of their travel. If airline tickets were purchased through CIE Tours, penalties and any changes in airfare are dependent on airline terms and conditions and will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

 


 

COLLETTE

All tours are currently cancelled through and including April 15, 2020.

For updates about Oberammergau, the Schengen-Europe region, and China, go to https://www.gocollette.com/en-ca/landing-pages/2020/travel-advisory-coronavirus.

Guests travelling on affected departures to these destinations will be contacted and offered the option to either travel on a date and tour of their choice or be provided a refund.

 


 

CONTIKI

UPDATED APRIL 21: Contiki has temporarily suspended all guided vacations across the globe for trips departing up and until June 30, 2020. Travel credits will be automatically available for the full value of the land portion of a client’s trip during this suspension period, to use for travel before Dec. 31, 2022.

Clients booked with Contiki have two options:

. Clients can rebook now and change their travel dates or destination to any trip in 2020 or 2021, without penalty on the land portion of their trip. Any discounts (of up to 15%) that had been applied to the original booking will be transferred and applied to their new booking.

. Or, clients can choose to hold a future travel credit of the full amount paid for land portion of the suspended vacation, redeemable against any new booking for travel to any destination departing before December 31, 2022.

Some conditions apply. Future Travel Credits can be redeemed with the company or another TTC brand (other TTC brands include Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Luxury Gold, Costsaver, Uniworld and U by Uniworld) on any destination or trip for travel before Dec. 31, 2022. These policies are subject to change at any time and are not retroactive for bookings cancelled prior to March 16, 2020.

For all other 2020 bookings, clients can have peace of mind knowing they have the flexibility to change their trip until 30 days prior to departure.

To read Contiki’s FAQs, go to https://www.contiki.com/ca/en/resources/travel-alerts#modalOpen.

 


 

COSTSAVER

UPDATED APRIL 21: Costsaver has temporarily suspended all guided vacations across the globe for trips departing up and until June 30, 2020. Travel credits will be automatically available for the full value of the land portion of a client’s trip during this suspension period, to use for travel before Dec. 31, 2022.

Clients booked with Costsaver have two options:

. Clients can rebook now and change their travel dates or destination to any trip in 2020 or 2021, without penalty on the land portion of their trip. Any discounts (of up to 15%) that had been applied to the original booking will be transferred and applied to their new booking.

. Or, clients can choose to hold a future travel credit of the full amount paid for land portion of the suspended vacation, redeemable against any new booking for travel to any destination departing before December 31, 2022.

Some conditions apply. Future Travel Credits can be redeemed with the company or another TTC brand (other TTC brands include Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Luxury Gold, Uniworld and U by Uniworld) on any destination or trip for travel before Dec. 31, 2022. These policies are subject to change at any time and are not retroactive for bookings cancelled prior to March 16, 2020.

For all other 2020 bookings, clients can have peace of mind knowing they have the flexibility to change their trip until 30 days prior to departure.

More news:  SUPPLIER COVID-19 UPDATES: Airlines, cruise lines, hotels and tour ops

For more details go to costsavertour.com/en-ca/resources/coronavirus-travel-update.

 


 

EXODUS

UPDATED APRIL 6: All tours departing between now and June 30, 2020 have been suspended. All travellers booked on a tour departing before July 1, 2020 are eligible for a refund credit note, which can be used on any booking made by July 31, 2021, for travel prior to March 31, 2022.

The company is reaching out to affected travellers according to proximity of departure to discuss future options.

 


 

G ADVENTURES

UPDATED MAY 22: G Adventures has suspended all tours departing up to and including July 31, 2020. In addition, the company is also suspending all G Expedition departures up to and including Aug. 31, 2020. All travellers booked and fully paid on a tour departing up to July 31, 2020 will receive a 100% travel credit on all booked tour services, including pre- and post-night accommodation and transfers, to be used on any tour departing up to two years from the end of the month of their tour’s suspension. Travellers who haven’t yet made their final payment will have their Lifetime Deposit kept on file to put towards a future tour. Travel advisors with questions can call 1-877-277-9854 or email at experience@gadventures.com.

 


 

GATEWAYS INTERNATIONAL TAILOR-MADE TOURS

Citing the health and safety of its clients and team members, Gateways International has announced the temporary closure of its office in the wake of COVID-19. The office will remain closed for the next few weeks.

“Rest assured all staff will be working from home and will remain accessible by email to handle inquiries and issues,” said the company.

Clients are encouraged to contact Gateways directly at sos@gateways-internationalc.om or email their dedicated specialist.

 


 

GLOBUS FAMILY OF BRANDS

UPDATED MAY 13: Globus family of brands, which comprises Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways, has suspended travel worldwide through Aug. 31, 2020.

In response to this latest extension, the Globus family is also extending its Peace of Mind Travel Plan, which provides travellers booked on affected vacations the freedom to reschedule their trip in 2020, 2021 or 2022, to any destination, on any brand, without incurring cancellation fees. The plan also offers a credit of up to $200 per person; letters of credit issued to clients are also transferable.

For Peace of Mind Travel Plan details and more info go to:

 


 

GOWAY

Due to the high volume of phone calls, Goway is asking that in the first instance for clients to email at info@goway.com with their booking reference, full name and destination.

Those departing in the next 30 days (from March 23) should contact Goway to discuss their options or conditions that may apply to their booking.

Those who have only paid a deposit, in the current circumstances, they can defer travel and transfer their deposit to another destination or date of travel. Their deposit is non-refundable, but it is transferrable.

For situations where Goway, on a client’s behalf, has paid supplemental deposits/payments to third-party suppliers, including airlines, the penalties of those suppliers will apply.

 


 

HOLA SUN HOLIDAYS

UPDATED MAY 11: Hola Sun Holidays has announced that its flights to Cuba aboard Air Transat have been suspended until  June 30, 2020. Those who are unable to travel due to the suspension of their flights will receive a future travel voucher, which is valid for 24 months from the original travel date. The future travel voucher will be automatically applied to these reservations so there is no need to contact Hola Sun regarding the credit.

Hola Sun is also complying with TICO’s new amendments as it continues with the process of issuing future travel vouchers for those reservations affected by COVID-19. The tour operator has stated that if a chargeback is accepted by a credit card company, the cost will not be passed along to its retail partners.

Hola Sun has reduced the final payment due date to 25 days prior to departure instead of the normal 45 days prior to departure. The policy is valid for all departures June 1 – Oct. 31, 2020 and is only applicable to packages and air only bookings.

 


 

INSIGHT VACATIONS

UPDATED APRIL 21: Insight Vacations has temporarily suspended all guided vacations across the globe for trips departing up and until June 30, 2020. Travel credits will be automatically available for the full value of the land portion of a client’s trip during this suspension period, to use for travel before Dec. 31, 2022.

Clients booked with Insight have two options:

. Clients can rebook now and change their travel dates or destination to any trip in 2020 or 2021, without penalty on the land portion of their trip. Any discounts (of up to 15%) that had been applied to the original booking will be transferred and applied to their new booking.

. Or, clients can choose to hold a future travel credit of the full amount paid for land portion of the suspended vacation, redeemable against any new booking for travel to any destination departing before December 31, 2022.

Some conditions apply. Future Travel Credits can be redeemed with the company or another TTC brand (other TTC brands include Trafalgar, Luxury Gold, Costsaver, Uniworld and U by Uniworld) on any destination or trip for travel before Dec. 31, 2022. These policies are subject to change at any time and are not retroactive for bookings cancelled prior to March 16, 2020.

For all other 2020 bookings, clients can have peace of mind knowing they have the flexibility to change their trip until 30 days prior to departure.

For more details go to https://www.insightvacations.com/ca/information/travel-update.

 


 

INTREPID

UPDATED APRIL 27: Intrepid Group has extended its suspension period for global operations until at least Sept. 30, 2020.

If clients were booked on a tour that has been suspended due to the pandemic, they will automatically receive a credit of 110% of monies paid (of their deposit or full payment). This excludes additional flights or insurance as they will have their own booking conditions.

Travellers are two options for redeeming their credit:

  • Re-book a tour now for a future travel date before Sept. 30, 2022
  • Hold on to their travel credit until they are ready to re-book on a future tour departing before Sept. 30, 2022

If travellers are booked on a tour that is due to depart from Oct. 1, 2020 onward, there are currently no changes to their trip and it is currently scheduled to depart as planned. Intrepid is monitoring the situation and will notify travellers directly via its customer care team or their travel agent if their tour is suspended.

For these travellers, if they wish to cancel their booking they can receive a credit of monies paid (excluding flights or insurance) to use on a new tour with a departure date before Sept. 30, 2022. For all future bookings, full payment is now due 21 days prior to the departure date of their tour.

For more information see https://www.intrepidtravel.com/ca/covid19.


 

LION WORLD

UPDATED APRIL 21: All Lion World bookings for March, April, May and June 2020 are impacted because of COVID-19. For the majority of bookings, clients have the option to postpone travel to as late as December 9, 2021, without penalties. See here for more information.

 


 

LUXURY GOLD

UPDATED APRIL 21: Luxury Gold has temporarily suspended all guided vacations across the globe for trips departing up and until June 30, 2020. Travel credits will be automatically available for the full value of the land portion of a client’s trip during this suspension period, to use for travel before Dec. 31, 2022.

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Clients booked with Luxury Gold have two options:

. Clients can rebook now and change their travel dates or destination to any trip in 2020 or 2021, without penalty on the land portion of their trip. Any discounts (of up to 15%) that had been applied to the original booking will be transferred and applied to their new booking.

. Or, clients can choose to hold a future travel credit of the full amount paid for land portion of the suspended vacation, redeemable against any new booking for travel to any destination departing before December 31, 2022.

Some conditions apply. Future Travel Credits can be redeemed with the company or another TTC brand (other TTC brands include Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Costsaver, Uniworld and U by Uniworld) on any destination or trip for travel before Dec. 31, 2022. These policies are subject to change at any time and are not retroactive for bookings cancelled prior to March 16, 2020.

For all other 2020 bookings, clients can have peace of mind knowing they have the flexibility to change their trip until 30 days prior to departure.

For more details go to luxurygold.com/ca/information/travel-update.


 

QUARK EXPEDITIONS

Quark Expeditions’ ‘Book with Confidence & Rebook Anytime’ Policy, which applies to its Arctic 2020 season (excluding the North Pole), allows clients to cancel any time, for any reason, up to 24 hours prior to their voyage start date.

The policy is risk-free, allowing clients to rebook with a 100% future travel refund credit for deposits or other partial payments at the time of cancellation received by Quark. It also allows clients to rebook with 120% future travel refund credit for voyages where full payment at the time of cancellation has been received by the company.

There are no rebooking fees and credits are transferrable.

New and existing Antarctica 2020 bookings receive Extended Payment Terms for voyages up to 60 days prior to voyage.

Agents are encouraged to visit Quark’s Partner Resource Centre for full details, or email guest@quarkexpeditions.com.

 


 

ROCKY MOUNTAINEER

UPDATED MAY 19: Rocky Mountaineer has extended the delay of its 2020 travel season to July 31. Passengers on suspended departures will receive a future travel credit of 110% of the monies paid, valid through to the end of the 2022 season. Rocky Mountaineer will also hold 2021 rail prices at the 2020 level, so guests will not experience an inflationary price increase for the rail portion of their itinerary. In addition, passengers who rebook a similar package in 2021, within 14 days of the original departure date anniversary, will not pay more for the new package including third-party hotels, tours and attractions, due to the later travel date. Passengers on a suspended departure can contact their travel agent or Rocky Mountaineer before Nov. 30, 2021 to select their new travel date. For more information see www.rockymountaineer.com/covid19-keeping-you-updated.

 


 

SUNWING

UPDATED MAY 14: To help Canadians plan future travel, Sunwing is offering customers the flexibility to change or cancel their plans with ease thanks to complimentary Price Drop Cash Back, $100 reduced deposit and new payment options.

Sunwing has temporarily adjusted its final payment policy to add more flexibility. Final payments are now due 25 days before the departure date, instead of the usual 45 days, for departures from May 1-June 30, 2020. This applies to individual bookings only, on all air only and packages purchased via Sunwing (not applicable to groups).

Sunwing’s air and package cancellation terms will be aligned with these amended conditions (cancellation fees: 25 days or more before departure – loss of deposit; 24 to 22 days before departure – 50% of the total amount; 21 days and less before departure – 100% of the total amount).

All other terms and conditions remain the same. Sunwing recently extended its suspension of operations to June 25.

 


 

TAUCK

Tauck has announced it will pause and forgo all scheduled tours from March 17 through April 14, 2020. All affected travellers will be contacted by the company.

Tauck has also adjusted its cancellation policies for guests scheduled to travel between April 14 and June 30, 2020. Customers who have paid in full will have all cancellation fees, including Guest or Cruise Protection Product premiums, returned in the form of a travel credit to be used on any 2020-2021 Tauck journey. Airline change fees will not be covered for guests who voluntarily cancel.

For bookings not paid in full, final payment for guests booked on these tours will be due 30 days prior to departure. Any guest who cancels after making final payment will have all cancellation fees (including Guest or Cruise Portection Product premiums) issued back to them in the form of a travel credit to be used on any 2020-2021 Tauck journey, with the exception of airline change fees.

In the event that Tauck cancels a guest’s journey, the company will have all tour or cruise costs returned in the original form of payment. Any Guest Protection Product/Cruise Protection Product premiums will be kept on account by Tauck for future use. For guests with Tauck-booked air, Tauck will cover all airline change fees. For guests with non-Tauck-booked air, Tauck will cover airline change fees up to US$250 per person.

Guests scheduled to travel beyond June 30 will be subject to Tauck’s standard policies.

For guests booked to attend the 2020 Oberammergau Passion Play, go to https://www.tauck.ca/passion-play-2020-update for new updates.

 


 

TRAFALGAR

UPDATED APRIL 21: Trafalgar has temporarily suspended all guided vacations across the globe for trips departing up and until June 30, 2020. Travel credits will be automatically available for the full value of the land portion of a client’s trip during this suspension period, to use for travel before Dec. 31, 2022.

Clients booked with Trafalgar have two options:

. Clients can rebook now and change their travel dates or destination to any trip in 2020 or 2021, without penalty on the land portion of their trip. Any discounts (of up to 15%) that had been applied to the original booking will be transferred and applied to their new booking.

. Or, clients can choose to hold a future travel credit of the full amount paid for land portion of the suspended vacation, redeemable against any new booking for travel to any destination departing before December 31, 2022.

Some conditions apply. Future Travel Credits can be redeemed with the company or another TTC brand (other TTC brands include Insight Vacations, Luxury Gold, Costsaver, Uniworld and U by Uniworld) on any destination or trip for travel before Dec. 31, 2022. These policies are subject to change at any time and are not retroactive for bookings cancelled prior to March 16, 2020.

For all other 2020 bookings, clients can have peace of mind knowing they have the flexibility to change their trip until 30 days prior to departure.

Go to https://www.trafalgar.com/en-ca/resources/coronavirus-travel-update.

 


 

SUPPLIER UPDATE LISTS:

For the latest list of Airline updates, click here

For the latest list of Cruise Line updates, click here

For the latest list of Hotel & Resort updates, click here

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