We’d like to check in with you about the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
We understand the concerns and uncertainty this virus is causing some customers. As the news continues to change, we appreciate it may be difficult to decide whether to travel as well as where to and when.
We are constantly monitoring the situation to assess possible impacts to our customers’ travel plans using reliable sources like the World Health Organisation (WHO) and our own Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. We’re also in close contact with our suppliers around the world and the welfare of our customers is front of mind for us as this situation evolves.
If you are looking for credible, independent information about the risk and safety of travel during the coronavirus outbreak, we recommend that you visit these websites: WHO.int and SafeTravel.govt.nz, rather than relying on the news headlines and social media.
We also thought we’d share our responses to the most common questions we’ve been asked recently: Are people still travelling and booking holidays?
Yes. Most of our customers are still travelling as planned. We are finding those directly affected by COVID-19 related cancellations or those travelling to destinations with increased travel advisory warnings are tending not to cancel their plans instead they have chosen to travel later.
Customers are still booking holidays to the USA, South Pacific, Australia, Europe and Bali. River cruising and close-to-home ocean cruising are particularly popular.
I have a booking, I’m concerned about my future travel plans what should I do?
We recommend that, before making any decisions, you do refer to the reliable websites we have listed above and speak with your personal travel manager to ensure that you have a factual understanding of both the risks of travelling to your chosen destination and the travel options available to you. The decision to travel is ultimately one that must be made by each customer based on your personal circumstances.
Because most insurance policies in New Zealand are not covering COVID-19 related cancellations:
If your travel is still some time in the future and there is no financial penalty for doing so, we recommend waiting until closer to departure to make any decisions, rather than cancelling your travel plans now.
If you do not feel comfortable travelling right now and your travel dates are more immediate, we are recommending you consider postponing – rather than cancelling – your holiday. We’re working
closely with many of our suppliers to secure more favourable and flexible terms and conditions around amendments for our customers.
If you are concerned, then your Travel Advocates personal travel manager will assist you by:
- Reviewing your travel plans and discussing options and alternatives with you.
- Outlining the options available to you, discussing how any changes or cancellations may affect you financially.
- Sharing with you the latest information from travel advisories and alerts and information on the destination you’re planning to visit.
I am thinking of making a booking. What should I consider?
For those of you happy to take advantage of the great holiday specials being offered right now, please get in touch with us as usual. If you are feeling a little hesitant then please call us to discuss your plans. Your personal travel manager can help reduce the risk of any financial impact in the event you decide to amend or cancel your booking later by:
- Booking more flexible or fully refundable airfares and rates.
- Working with suppliers who have changed their booking terms and conditions, such as reduced deposits and/or delayed final payment dates until closer to your commencement of travel.
- Discussing the best travel insurance options for you.
Will I be covered if I get Coronavirus while travelling?
Our insurance provider Allianz is currently accepting claims for Coronavirus related medical
costs incurred whilst travelling. You can find an update from Allianz about their current coronavirus position here.
How concerned is Travel Advocates about the impacts of Coronavirus?
Over the past weeks the message we have heard very clearly is that despite the immediate challenges this outbreak has caused in some parts of the world, our customers are keen to keep travelling.
Being part of a Group that has been in business for over thirty years we have seen the travel industry impacted and bounce back from several global issues including natural disasters, diseases such as SARS, terrorism and economic recessions.
We’re always here to help. This world is an amazing place and we plan to keep exploring it for our customers.
The team at Travel Advocates