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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: March 26 – Hola Sun; March 31 – Sunwing, Rocky Mountaineer and Quark Expeditions




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.




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

For updates about Oberammergau, the Schengen-Europe region, and China, go to

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 is suspending all trips around the world due to depart on or before April 30, 2020.

It is reaching out to affected travellers personally to help them rebook, free of charge, on to a new trip in any destination for travel any time during 2020 or 2021, with a full credit of all monies paid redeemable against their revised trip with Contiki.

Travellers currently on trips in progress with Contiki have the option to continue their travels (where possible to do so) or return home early and receive a pro-rata travel credit for the unused land portion of their tip.

For travellers with existing bookings departing from May 1, and more than 30 days from March 18 for other destinations, or any new bookings being made, Contiki has temporarily suspended the cancellation charges until 30 days prior to departure should they wish to change their dates or travel to a different destination.

To read Contiki’s FAQs, go to




All tours departing between now and May 15, 2020 have been suspended. All travellers booked on tours departing between March 17-May 15 will be eligible for a 110% travel voucher, which can be used on any booking made by March 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.




After announcing the temporary suspension of all tours departing between March 16-April 30, 2020, G Adventures has extended the suspension period to last until the end of May.

As a result of COVID-19, all tours departing up to and including May 31, 2020, with the exception of the ‘Norwegian Arctic Encompassed’ trip on May 29, 2020, will be cancelled.

Any traveller booked and fully paid on a tour departing between March 16-May 31 will receive a 110% 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 ‘life time deposit’ kept on file to put towards a future tour.

Travel advisors with questions can call 1-877-277-9854 or email at




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 and will reopen on April 6.

“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 or email their dedicated specialist.




After announcing a voluntary suspension of travel until April 30, 2020 across all its brands (Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways), Globus family of brands has extended its suspension period through June 30, 2020.

For travellers impacted by the suspension, the company has launched a new Peace of Mind plan. Through this plan, the company is now allowing all currently booked travellers between March 14 and June 30, 2020 to move travel dates easily and without incurring cancellation fees, land or airline penalties.

Clients are free to move their booking to any Globus family of brands vacation for any destination. If they are not ready to choose their new vacation, the full value paid to Globus will be provided via a Letter of Credit, redeemable for any future 2020, 2021 or 2022 departure, and is transferrable.

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Plus, the Plan includes an additional bonus credit of up to $200 per person, in addition to their Letter of Credit, redeemable for any future travel through 2022.

  • Bonus credit of $200 for Avalon Waterways
  • Bonus credit of $100 for Globus
  • Bonus credit of $50 for Cosmos, Escapes by Globus & Monograms

For updates on Oberammergau departures and for upcoming travel through June 30, 2020, go to:

For travel beyond June 30, 2020, Globus family of brands is continuing its policy waiving cancellation penalties until 30 days prior to departure.




Due to the high volume of phone calls, Goway is asking that in the first instance for clients to email at 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.




Following Air Transat’s announcement that it is suspending of all flights to Cuba from March 21 until April 30, Hola Sun is offering impacted travellers a future travel voucher, valid for 24 months from their original travel date.

The voucher will be automatically applied to their reservation; there is no need to contact the tour operator regarding this credit.

For passengers still in destination, Air Transat is making arrangements to guarantee that all travellers gradually return home. Hola Sun is asking clients to contact their destination representative at their hotel or by phone. If they’d prefer to return earlier than planned, they can do so free of charge, subject to availability.

If clients decide to return earlier, they will not be refunded for any unused portion of their trip.

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 new policy is valid for all departures May 1 – June 30, 2020 and is only applicable to packages and air only bookings. The policy is for individual bookings only and does not apply to group bookings.




Insight has temporarily suspended all guided vacations across the globe for trips departing up and until April 30, 2020. All guests currently booked on a guided vacation during this suspension can either change their travel dates or destination to any trip in 2020 or 2021, without penalty on the land portion of their trip, or elect for a travel credit in the full amount paid, valid for travel before Dec. 31, 2021. For more details go to

Normal penalties apply for full cancellation without rebooking or cancellations made more than 30 days before departure. These policies are not retroactive for bookings cancelled prior to March 16, 2020.

For guests with existing bookings departing from May 1, 2020 (and more than 30 days from March 19), or for any new bookings being made, Insight is temporarily offering a fee waiver on the land portion of the trip until 30 days prior to departure should guests wish to change their dates or travel to a different destination.




Intrepid Group has extended its suspension period for global operations until at least May 31, 2020.

The company has updated its booking terms and conditions, as follows:

Tours departing from March 16-May 31, 2020:

  • If customers have booked a tour departing between March 16-May 31, 2020, they will receive a credit of 110% to put towards an alternative tour with a departure date before April 30, 2022 (excluding flights and insurance). This travel credit will be automatically applied to their Intrepid booking.


Tours departing from June 1, 2020:

  • At this time all tours departing from June 1, 2020 will continue as planned. If there are changes of if a trip is suspended, clients will be notified directly for Intrepid’s customer care team or their travel agent.
  • If a client chooses to suspend their tour departing from June 1, 2020, they will receive a credit of monies paid to use towards an alternative tour with a departure date before April 30, 2022. For future travel, full payment is due 21 days prior to the departure of their trip.




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.

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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




Rocky Mountaineer has extended the delay of its 2020 travel season from the end of April to July 1. The season was originally scheduled to start on April 13. With this second delay extension, all train departures will be halted until July 1, 2020.

Guests on suspended departures will receive a future travel credit for 110% of the value paid, which can be applied to a new departure in the 2020, 2021 or 2022 seasons. They have until before Nov. 30, 2021 to apply the future travel credit.

In addition to the future travel credit for impacted guests, Rocky Mountaineer is waiving all fees associated with changing travel dates.




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.




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 for new updates.





For all bookings that included tickets to the 2020 Oberammergau Passion Play, which has been postponed until May 2022, Trafalgar has already reserved their spot for the newly released dates, at 2020 prices.

If guests are unable to travel in 2022, they have the following rebooking options:

  • Choose to travel on any trip, destination or date through 2021 without penalty on the land portion (the Oberammergau portion will be fully refunded)
  • Receive a future travel credit for the full amount paid on the land portion to be used toward a Trafalgar or other TTC company (Insight Vacations, Luxury Gold, Costsaver, Brendan, Uniworld or U by Uniworld) trip through 2021 (the Oberammergau portion will be fully refunded)

Please note that trips in 2022 will depart five days later than the 2020 departure (ie. Trips departing Sept. 1, 2020 would depart Sept. 6, 2022).

For policy updates on all other trips departing before or on April 30, 2020, and for trips departing from May 1, 2020, go to





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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