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Mothballing Dragoman was ‘easy decision’ in current climate

The decision to hibernate Dragoman until longhaul travel is feasible again was ultimately a “pretty easy decision”, according to the overland touring specialist’s boss.

Director Charlie Hopkinson said the Aito operator is mothballing operations indefinitely and refunding all future bookings. Its 27 trucks will be parked up around the world and its offices will shut until it is able to restart business.

The firm’s hibernation was confirmed earlier this month, and will remain in place until long-haul travel is feasible again.

Speaking at Aito’s general meeting, Hopkinson said: “We have uncertainty. We need certainty to restart. We need to reserve our funds and so it was a pretty easy decision.”

Hopkinson revealed a key reason for the decision was the cost of insurance, including the amount now required up front to insure its overland trucks.

“Insurance is our biggest Achille’s Heel. That industry has made it hard for us to restart in every area of the world,” he said.

He admitted it was “a lot of work” to refund all clients, adding the company was not giving a date for its return until it had further information on international travel restarting.

Hopkinson said he was not concerned about losing the operator’s client base and more concerned about when business would return and ensuring the operator had knowledge staff.

“It’s when we can open up. Until we have clarity we are putting Dragoman in a box. Staff and knowledge is a big issue,” he said.

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