Agents have called for more flexibility from tour operators as customers cancel Christmas trips to India and Thailand following last week’s troubles.
Clients are contacting agents to enquire about cancelling or delaying their trips after terrorist attacks on various locations in Mumbaileft more than 188people dead.There is also concern from those due to travel to, or connect at, Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport and Don Muang domestic airport after a week of blockades by protestors.
However, tour operators are under no obligation to provide refunds unless the Foreign Office warns against all but essential travel to India. At the moment, advice is not to avoid visiting the country,but to be extra vigilant.It is advising tourists to avoid airports in Bangkok.
Hendon-based Colletts Travel director Roy Collett said: “We have a lot of clients due to travel to Thailand for Christmas and there is uncertainty over whether they will go.
“Operators have to be more understanding if people want to cancel, they can’t be too rigid.”
Jackie Steadman, director of Travel Time World in Berkhamsted has customers due to travel to Delhi and Goa in the coming months.
She said: “At the moment everyone’s treading water. One client is travelling to Goa and he doesn’t want to go. People are unlikely to get refunds because, in this market, the tour operators won’t be able to resell the holiday.“
She added: “Clients are nervous and we are stuck in the middle because we have to do what the tour operator says.”
Meanwhile, ABTA is advising agents to check the World Watch section of its website for advice. A spokeswoman said: “This will be a worry for people and things will see an immediate downturn, but that usually bounces back fairly quickly. Tour operators are under no obligation to give refunds.“
Kuoni and Bales Worldwide said booking conditions would be as normal on trips on India. Bales Worldwide managing director Mandy Nickerson said: “People don’t always realise how vast India is, so we have been reassuring customers due to travel.“
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