To help travel agents reassure client concerns about the Coronavirus, TICO has issued a special Registrar Bulletin that includes relevant tips and information.
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 UPDATE March 26: Hola Sun
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 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 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 https://www.contiki.com/ca/en/resources/travel-alerts#modalOpen.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 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 email@example.com or email their dedicated specialist.
GLOBUS FAMILY OF BRANDS
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.
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.
For updates on Oberammergau departures, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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 https://www.insightvacations.com/ca/information/travel-update.
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:
Tours departing from June 1, 2020:
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.
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:
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 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