To all our clients and fellow travellers thank you for your support and your best wishes, it has been heartening for us, Mike, Jess, Jos, Anna, Shelby & Jenelle, to hear from you wishing us luck and good fortune.
We hope to back up and running like crazy again when this coronavirus crisis is over. When you’re ready to travel again we’re ready to make it happen for you.
One bright spot for our industry in all this is that many people are discovering how useful it has been to book their travel through a travel agent. Many travellers are now discovering how much work is involved in managing travel bookings, particularly cancelling bookings. They have discovered how time consuming it really is. Hopefully there will be travel agents and a travel industry still operating at the end of this. We are hearing lots in the media about how tough hospitality is doing it, and they are, but travel was first to be affected, and it will be last to be opened up.
At this stage we are still working on reduced hours, at least until the end of September or as long as the Job Keeper allowance lasts. This means, in reality, about 2 to 3 days a week. Myself (Mike) in the office (5 days a week) and the others at home. It is best to email your consultant directly if you have an enquiry about your trip. At this stage it would be counterproductive to come into the office in Subiaco.
Information evenings are still on hold until further notice.
We are currently dealing with your bookings in departure date order, so May, June and July are our priorities at this stage, not January next year! There is a lot of work in transferring or cancelling bookings so please be patient, especially as many of the staff of our operators and airlines have been stood down, or lost their jobs. There are only skeleton teams left in the booking & reservations offices.
Additionally, many airlines and operators have changed their cancellation & refund policies several times, sometimes weekly, so you need to be patient. The sheer numbers of cancellations happening around the world means that teams that have been reduced by 90% in some cases, are now dealing with tens of thousands of request. What used to take 2 months can now take 6. Assuming we can find anyone human to talk to!
The Intrepid Group, which owns the Intrepid, Peregrine Adventures and Urban Adventures brands, have cancelled all their trips worldwide, with some Australian and cruising exceptions, until the 30th September. The credits that they issue are valid for use until 30 Sep 2022.
Exodus Travels have cancelled all their trips until 31 August worldwide, as have Explore Worldwide. World Expeditions have cancelled their Australian & NZ trips until 30 June and the rest of the world until 30 September. Most operators worldwide have cancelled their trips up until the end of June at this time. Nearly all have only got skeleton teams of staff on, often working only a couple of days a week. Effectively, the companies have been moth-balled.
Having said that, Italy has just announced that the country will be open from 03 June, and Spain has announced their opening date as 01 July. It seems Europe is keen to open and take advantage of the northern hemisphere summer tourist season. However, it is one thing for Europe to let a traveller in, assuming you can find flights, but it is another thing entirely if Australia allows you to return – and without having to do 2 weeks in quarantine or self-isolation.
Additionally, airlines have different cut off dates for refunds, credits and transfers. We need to look at your particular circumstances taking into account which airline you are booked, on and when their cut off date for travel by is on. The refund/credit policies are all different for every airline, and often they change regularly, we are working to understand them and get you the best outcome possible.
If you need to get hold of us please email directly to your consultant, or alternatively contact me, Mike, on firstname.lastname@example.org, I will be online and available throughout the crisis.
Really, really looking forward to seeing you on the other side of this pandemic.