Luxury Holidays

Being ignored is worse than being misunderstood

When something happens or goes so badly wrong, its hard to deal with on your own. Even if its just talking to someone who doesn’t know anything about you, just talking helps.

The travel industry is currently in its worse ever crisis, and yes we have been through a few. We’re a resilient bunch, and while there was the Gulf War crisis in the 90’s, or 9/11 in the early 2000’s, the Economic crisis later on in that decade or a volcanic eruption grounding flights for days, we still work with the passion and enthusiasm to provide travel and holidays as we always do.

A global pandemic is the latest in a long line of different challenges we have had to face, and due to its very nature probably the most challenging. Starting in China six months ago, it has taken hold around the world, restricting our movements and thwarting travel abroad. That’s six months of us rearranging holidays, possibly more than once and refunding where that is not possible where an unimaginable amount of hard work had already gone into making those plans.

As lockdowns around the world started, it became clear there was going to be an issue around refunds. Although travel agents (and tour operators in most cases) had acted correctly, paying suppliers and adhering to the rules, money in the other direction wasn’t forthcoming. The Package Travel Regulations were never designed for such an event, and it quickly became clear that there would be a crunch.

With the lack of government intervention, it was ABTA who came up with the idea of a financially protected credit note as a mechanism to help free the blockage mass refunding had created. The government have still to fully endorse the option. Still, refunds are slowly appearing now and being received faster.

It was a surprise that our country was only one of a few not to close our borders during the height of the crisis. During this period flights still operated (although at a heavily reduced rate), including a number of government organised repatriation flights from all over the world. This could have contributed to us being one of the hardest hit nations both in Europe and worldwide.

As the cases slowly drop in the UK and nearly or totally eradicated in many parts of Europe, the government in its wisdom induces a new quarantine period for new arrivals into the UK. Even the scientists say that it would have been better to implement this earlier, and goes against the majority of our European neighbours. It makes no sense when the rationale is to reduce cases coming into the UK, and we have the highest rate in Europe.

We are heading into the peak time for leisure travel in Europe, with countries such as Portugal and Greece leading the way in trying to attract tourists of which Britains are extremely important to them.

This is now a critical time, travel business are ready to restart and let people enjoy the holidays they have looked forward to. Its possible, authorities are doing everything they can to make sure its safe, just as long as people know that travel is not going to be quite the same for a while. We’re ready for the ‘new normal’.

Despite the calls from both the travel and aviation industry, the government isn’t listening, singing with its fingers in its ears while the screams grow louder, whist completely not understanding what challenges travel businesses face when refunding sales you had made, whist not being able to trade probably for new ones. Cafes are not refunding coffees they sold 6 months ago, and they can find creative ways of selling you one now, including a takeaway.

So you could say that the government doesn’t understand, they probably don’t. However, what it worse at the moment is feeling ignored. After all, at least if you’re misunderstood there is a conversation.

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