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. This list is updated as we receive new information from each company. The latest information can always be found at the company’s website.
LATEST UPDATES: April 7, 2021 – Sunwing; March 12, 2021 – Rocky Mountaineer
UPDATED FEB. 10, 2021: In an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 and following consultations with the federal government, Air Canada has suspended all flights to Mexico, Costa Rica and the Caribbean, effective Jan. 31 through April 30, 2021. As a result ACV has instituted a goodwill policy for all customers scheduled to travel between January 30 and April 30. ACV is offering any travellers affected by the suspension of flights the option to rebook their scheduled vacation for a later date without incurring change fees, or opt for either a refund with no penalty, applied in the original form of payment, or a future travel credit with no expiration date. More information can be found here.
Busabout has suspended departures right through until the end of 2021. “Just know we are doing everything we can to bring Busabout back in 2022 so you can continue to explore and travel Europe just the way you want to,” says the company. More details are here.
UPDATED MARCH 1, 2021: CIE Tours has suspended the operation all departures through May 2021. For clients with a trip scheduled during this time, CIE is offering to reschedule for another date or provide a Future Travel Credit. For more details go to https://www.cietours.com/en-ca/travel-update.
Collette is making decisions to either operate or cancel specific tour dates 30-45 days prior to the planned start date of the tour. At that time, Collette will contact guests to notify them of the status of their tour. For tours that have been cancelled, clients will be offered the option to either travel on a date and tour of their choice, or be provided a refund. Travellers can find the most up to date details of their tour by going to: Tour Status and Payment. Type in the booking number and last name when prompted. Further questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also of note, departures to China will not operate in 2021. The 2020 Oberammergau Passion Play will begin in May 2022. For more information click here.
UPDATED MARCH 11, 2021: All Contiki trips due to depart on or before April 30, 2021 and selected departures from May to September 2021 have been suspended globally. “If your trip has been suspended our team will be in touch to discuss rebooking your trip,” says the company. For the latest updates from Contiki, go to https://www.contiki.com/ca/en/resources/travel-alerts.
UPDATED MARCH 9, 2021: Costsaver is reviewing departures on a case-by-case basis. Should a trip be impacted and unable to operate, Costsaver is letting clients know that the booking agent will be in touch directly approximately 45-60 days prior to the trip’s planned start date. If A booked trip is suspended, clients will have a Future Travel Credit (FTC) automatically available for the full value of the land portion of the trip, to use for travel before Dec. 31, 2022. For more details go to costsavertour.com/en-ca/resources/coronavirus-travel-update.
Exodus has information for trip cancellations and rebooking at the Travel Disruption Advice page on its website. That page can be found at https://www.exodustravels.com/ca/travel-safety-advice.
UPDATED FEB. 25, 2021: G Adventures began running some tours in September 2020 and continued right through to the end of the year. With the exception of those as well as a selection of tours in January, February and March 2021, the company says it has made the difficult decision to further suspend all of its G Adventures and National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures tours through to April 30, 2021. More information is here. Travel advisors with questions can call 1-877-277-9854 or email at email@example.com.
GATEWAYS INTERNATIONAL TAILOR-MADE TOURS
Citing the health and safety of its clients and team members, Gateways International temporarily closed its office in the wake of COVID-19. “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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email their dedicated specialist.
GLOBUS FAMILY OF BRANDS
UPDATED FEB. 10, 2021: The Globus family of brands – Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways – has extended its suspension of operations through April 2021.
Effective April 2021 travellers will be required to offer Globus family of brands’ personnel one of the following printed and/or digital verifications upon arrival:
. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination at least 14 days prior to travel; or
. Proof of a negative COVID-19 test (NAAT/PCR or antigen) result within 72 hours of travel; or
. Proof of recovery from a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis within 3 months of travel
For Peace of Mind Travel Plan details and more info go to:
- Globus – https://www.globusjourneys.ca/travel-update/
- Cosmos – https://www.cosmosvacations.ca/travel-update/
- Monograms – https://www.monogramstravel.ca/travel-update/
- Avalon Waterways – https://www.avalonwaterways.ca/avalon-assurance/
Information about Goway’s Book with Confidence Commitment, Goway Travelmate program and other policies can be found at https://www.goway.com/goway-travel/our-policies/.
HOLA SUN HOLIDAYS
Hola Sun’s COVID-19 updates, insurance coverage and policies can all be found at https://www.holasunholidays.ca/covid-19/.
UPDATED MARCH 4, 2021: Insight Vacations is reviewing departures on a case-by-case basis. If a trip is impacted and unable to operate, Insight is advising travellers that their booking agent will be in touch directly approximately 45-60 days prior to the trip’s planned start date. If a booked trip is suspended, travellers will get a Future Travel Credit (FTC) automatically available to them for the full value of the land portion of their trip, to use for travel before Dec. 31, 2022. For details see https://www.insightvacations.com/ca/information/travel-update.
Intrepid Travel has extended the suspension of the majority of tours until at least April 30, 2021. Guests who were booked on a suspended tour due to the pandemic will automatically receive a credit of 110% of monies paid (of their deposit or full payment). This excludes additional flights or insurance. The credit amount is 100% if the trip was booked during a sale promotion. For more information go to https://www.intrepidtravel.com/ca/trip-suspensions.
Lion World Travel is offering clients the option to postpone travel to as late as Dec. 9, 2022 (with some exceptions). Clients are asked to call 1-800-387-2706 to confirm their travel options if they wish to change, postpone or transfer their impacted trip.
If a client is uncertain about new travel dates, Lion World will issue a travel credit for any future travel with the company. Credit for issued airline tickets as well as all booked accommodations would remain with the same suppliers.
Standard cancellation penlties still apply to all bookings. To view booking terms and conditions click here.
For more information go to https://www.lionworldtravel.com/travel-alert.
UPDATED MARCH 4, 2021: Luxury Gold is reviewing departures on a case-by-case basis. If a trip is impacted and unable to operate, Insight is advising travellers that their booking agent will be in touch directly approximately 45-60 days prior to the trip’s planned start date. If a booked trip is suspended, travellers will get a Future Travel Credit (FTC) automatically available to them for the full value of the land portion of their trip, to use for travel before Dec. 31, 2022. For more details go to luxurygold.com/ca/information/travel-update.
With Quark Expeditions’ S.A.F.E. COVID-19 policy, ‘A’ stands for Anytime Cancellation & Rebooking. Guests can rebook their trip for any reason up to 30 days prior to the voyage, no questions asked. This applies to bookings made by April 30, 2021, for voyages up to March 2022, inclusive of Arctic 2021 and Antarctica 2021/2022. More details are here. Agents are also encouraged to visit Quark’s Partner Resource Centre for more details, or email email@example.com.
UPDATED MARCH 12, 2021: In light of ongoing travel restrictions, Rocky Mountaineer is delaying the start of its Canadian travel season until June 1, 2021. The company is also extending the inaugural season of its new route in the U.S., ‘Rockies to the Red Rocks,’ by four weeks. The preview season for the route, which travels between Moab, Utah and Denver, Colorado, will start on Aug. 15, 2021 and, with the extension, will run until Nov. 19, 2021. With some departure dates nearing capacity, Rocky Mountaineer is adding rail cars to increase guest capacity on all dates and adding 16 new departure dates to the preview season.
For guests impacted by the delayed start to travel in Canada, the company is offering several benefits, including: providing a future travel credit equivalent to 110% of monies paid; holding its 2021 and 2022 rail pricing at 2022 levels; and providing a price guarantee for its vacation packages to ensure travellers can book a similar tour at the same price, once the present force majeure event has passed, even if third-party hotels or tour operators raise their prices.
Guests can choose to transfer their booking to the new route in the U.S., ‘Rockies to the Red Rocks,’ with an added incentive to return to travel on the Canadian routes in the future.
Recognizing that some guests may be hesitant to select a new travel date immediately, Rocky Mountaineer has added greater flexibility to its booking, allowing guests to change their departure dates or people on the booking, up to 30 days ahead of travel, without charge or penalty. For more information go to www.rockymountaineer.com.
UPDATED APRIL 7, 2021: As announced by the Government of Canada, Sunwing, along with all other major Canadian airlines and tour operators, has suspended flights to all sun destinations between January, 31, 2021 and April 30, 2021. On April 1 Sunwing announced it was extending that suspension through June 23. Customers or their travel agents impacted by the temporary flight suspension are being contacted by Sunwing directly to review their options. More information can be found here.
Tauck’s travel updates, health and safety policies, travel requirements, flexible payment terms and more can be found at https://www.tauck.ca/travel-updates.
UPDATED MARCH 4, 2021: Trafalgar is reviewing departures on a case-by-case basis. If a trip is impacted and unable to operate, Insight is advising travellers that their booking agent will be in touch directly approximately 45-60 days prior to the trip’s planned start date. If a booked trip is suspended, travellers will get a Future Travel Credit (FTC) automatically available to them for the full value of the land portion of their trip, to use for travel before Dec. 31, 2022. More details are at https://www.trafalgar.com/en-ca/resources/coronavirus-travel-update.
UPDATED JAN. 29, 2021: Following measures announced by the Canadian government, Transat has suspended its regular operations from January 31 to April 30, 2021. More details are here.
UPDATED FEB. 10, 2021: WestJet has temporarily ceased international flying to sun destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean, in response to a request from the Government of Canada. Effective Jan. 31, 2021 WestJet suspended southbound operations until April 30, 2021 to Mexico, Costa Rica, the DR, Jamaica, Cuba, Saint Lucia, Saint Marten, Bahamas, and Bermuda. More details are here.
SUPPLIER UPDATE LISTS: