Coronavirus: Tour operators extend suspension of holidays

Tour operators are extending the suspension of operations around the world, as the coronavirus crisis deepens.

Earlier this month, many announced holiday departures would be suspended until April or May but now several have been informing clients and agents that the suspensions will be longer.

The announcements follow those from several cruise lines which have also extended their periods of suspension.

Cosmos has moved the end of its suspension from April 30 to June 30. It said: “Out of an abundance of caution, we are voluntarily suspending our tours and cruises from now until 30 June 2020.”

It has unveiled an “enhanced Peace of Mind” travel plan, allowing affected clients to move travel dates or to switch their booking to any holiday in the Globus family of brands (Globus, Cosmos or Avalon Waterways).

Travelopia brand Exodus Travels is now suspending all its tours until and including June 30. The tour operator had previously suspended departures before May 16.

Sam Seward, managing director at Travelopia’s adventure division, said: “Ensuring customer safety and enjoyment is our primary focus at Exodus Travels. We have therefore taken the decision to suspend further tours in the best interests of our customers, our leaders and all our partners.”

Sister Travelopia brands TrekAmerica and Grand American Adventures have also suspended all tours until the end of June.

Seward said on Tuesday: “All of the TrekAmerica team, including me, are now working from our homes. We’re fortunate to be able to continue our work at all and my thoughts have never been far from the challenges and threats facing our partners, providers and leaders overseas and of course you, our amazing trekkers.

“Every aspect of the last few weeks has been challenging, and it is with great sadness that today we have taken the decision to suspend all travel departing on or before 30 June 2020.”

Another Travelopia brand, cycling and walking specialist Headwater, said it has suspended departures up to June 30.

Clients who were due to travel will be entitled to a refund credit note towards future travel.

Back-Roads Touring has announced suspension of all tours until at least 30 June,

Wendy Wu Tours has deferred all tours until after May 31, and is offering a travel credit for an alternative holiday with a departure date before December 31, 2021.

“We have been working hard behind the scenes negotiating the best rates for your next holiday and we are seeing strong demand already for 2021 holidays which will be bookable at 2020 prices with us,” it said in a statement.

APT Travel Group is suspending the operation of its guided tours and cruises up to and including May 31, as the coronavirus crisis continues.

It had previously suspended its holidays up to and including April 24.

Collette has said that its tours are cancelled up to and including May 15. Furthermore, departures to China will be cancelled through to August 31, 2020, with normal operations resuming on September 1, 2020.

The 2020 Oberammergau Passion Play has been postponed and has been rescheduled to begin in May of 2022.

Guests who are scheduled to travel to Oberammergau for the event will be contacted.

Explore has extended the end of its suspension from April 30 to May 31.

A statement from managing director Joe Ponte said: “It is with a very heavy heart that I let you know that, for the first time in nearly 40 years, Explore has no customers actually exploring. Putting the safety of our customers and team above all else, we have suspended all travel until 31 May 2020.

“The team at Explore is working tirelessly to let affected customers know directly that their trips have been suspended and is doing so in order of departure.

“Whilst there is relief on all sides, it is undoubtedly mixed with sadness. But I am in no doubt that this was the right thing to do.

“Thank you for all the incredible messages of support, patience, and understanding through this challenging period. We will keep customers due to travel in June directly informed of any changes to June trips as they happen – we are reviewing the situation constantly.”

Insight Vacations has now suspended all tours departing up and until June 30.

It said on its website: “If you have a booked trip during this suspension period, please rest assured that you have a travel credit automatically available to you for the full value of the land portion of your trip, to use for travel before 31 December 2022.”

Its sister brand in The Travel Corporation (TTC), Trafalagar, has also temporarily suspended all guided holidays for trips departing up to June 30, and is offering the same options for refunds.

Another TTC brand, Australia and New Zealand specialist AAT Kings, has stopped operating all trips – escorted holidays are suspended to May 15 while day tours and short breaks are suspended until May 31.

Intrepid Travel is suspending tours until at least May 31.

Affected clients will receive a credit of 110% of the money paid (excluding polar, flights and insurance) to use towards an alternative tour with a departure date before April 30, 2022.

Ramblers Walking Holidays has suspended all its European and worldwide tours that were planned to operate until May 15, while all UK tours are suspended until April 30.

G Adventures has suspended tours up to May 31. The one exception is the Norwegian Arctic Encompassed Expedition beginning on May 29.

Leger Holidays said it is “reviewing” all departures due to leave before June 30.

A statement on its website said: “We understand that the situation is continuously changing and so, for any European coach or air tour departing before 30th June, you can move your tour to a later date in 2020 or 2021.

“We are proactively working to contact all customers directly in departure date order with more information and to discuss alternative travel arrangements.”

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