CORONAVIRUS UPDATE (COVID-19)

Our Role as your Travel Advisor

Updated as of April 13, 2020

In reviewing the last update that we issued, it feels like it’s been quite a bit longer than a month from our date of initial reporting.

We have hunkered down, as have all world citizens, and are adjusting to the reality that may stay with us for a little longer. I hope that you will see that we are all doing well!

At the moment, we are still busy handling rescheduling of vacations and dealing with the “what ifs” of our current state. With media briefings overwhelming and interrupting our regular day to day activities and travel lives, our job is still to be your travel advisors.

  • To be as objective as possible when directing you to fact filled sites.
  • To keep you updated on vendor policies so that you can choose whether to reschedule or cancel your trips.
  • To advocate for you in minimizing any financial losses incurred by this travel nightmare.
  • To encourage dreaming while sheltering in place of the next part of the world to visit.
  • To be confident that this too shall pass.
  • To remain hopeful that something good and positive will emerge from this devastating pandemic.

Summary Notes

We are a people and an industry of great hope. We are a resilient and scrappy bunch of ladies. In business for the past 50+ years, we have witnessed so much such as the airline commission cuts in the 80s, the elimination of paper tickets, the bankruptcy of many travel vendors, the emergence of the internet for booking travel, the incredible suffering of 9/11, the current end of many OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) and now this incredible pandemic.  No one should downplay any of these events, but we should take the opportunity to highlight the strength and courage of our advisors. I am so proud of our staff. The truth is that we are a small business and we have suffered the loss of the bulk of our bookings for the year. Our advisors are still fighting, though for us and for you! Showing up with a smile and working for anyone that needs our help – whether it is to reschedule a trip and preserve every penny that you have spent or to assist with repatriating travelers who found themselves away from home.

Please continue to support us! We are still promoting our Fall 2020 departures and look forward to welcoming you back to our office. We love planning your trips and want to make sure that you are comfortable with your decision to travel this beautiful world of ours! We are here for you if you have any questions. Please reach out if you need to discuss your situation whether you are traveling with us in a Small Group departure, a corporate Incentive trip or an Individual Vacation. Heartfelt thanks for your continued patronage and friendship.

Coronavirus Update (COVID-19) – March 2, 2020

We appreciate the role that we play as your travel advisors. The coronavirus situation is continuing to develop quickly and, in view of the importance that it may have on your future travel plans, we wanted to offer you some insights.

The Situation

As you know, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new strain of coronavirus, also known as “COVID-19,” first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and which continues to expand. Currently, we have reports of exposure in areas well outside of the continent of Asia. For its part, the U.S. State Department is being proactive and is updating travel advisories as needed. While the risks of this virus should not be minimized, it is important to put the numbers reported in the media into their proper context especially if you compare them to annual death figures in the United States from influenza. For updated information, please visit the CDC’s Coronavirus Page and the World Health Organization website for the most up-to-date recommendations.

Our Role as your Travel Advisor

While an advisor generally has a duty to disclose all information known to the advisor that is material to the client’s travel plans, this duty may be limited where the information has already been widely disseminated by the news media or otherwise and is now essentially a matter of public knowledge. Notwithstanding, our goal is to educate our clients so we are sharing objective third party information, such as that available on the government’s CDC and State Department websites. Our hope is that referral to these resources is an appropriate means of apprising you of the current situation so that you can make an informed decision.

We are not in a position to make a “yes” or “no” recommendation as to whether you should travel to any particular place at any given time. Ultimately, it is the traveler who must make that decision, ideally doing so in an informed manner and in light of his or her own individual risk tolerance.

In addition, those of you whose itineraries have been, or may be, affected by the coronavirus who purchased travel insurance should review the terms and conditions of those policies to determine what rights you may have under your specific circumstances. As coverage varies considerably among the numerous insurance options available, if you have questions concerning coverage in a specific situation, they should be directed to the insurance provider. Please understand that we are not shirking our responsibility in providing assistance. In view of this extremely fluid situation, we want to ensure that you are receiving the most accurate and real time answers to your questions.

In this spirit, we are providing links to objective third parties below as well as links to travel vendors who have been impacted:

Selected Supplier Updates on Coronavirus Impacts

Summary Notes

Please protect yourself as recommended by various health organizations and do not fall prey to the fear and media frenzy that is currently overwhelming us. If you want to read about updates on FB and other Social Media channels, please only look at reputable third party sources such as those of the CDC and WHO.

As you know, we act as advisors for you and agents for travel vendors all over the world. We are in constant communication with our suppliers as they make decisions regarding the travel services that they provide. Rest assured that our company only works with reputable vendors and it is our belief that they will not jeopardize the health and wellbeing of any guest.

Overall, we have found that many of the vendors, with whom we work, have implemented policies allowing guests to reschedule their trips without incurring additional fees. Most are waiting patiently for the experts in the global scientific community to work on stopping the spread of this virus. For trips that have been paid in full, we have not found any that are refunding passengers for voluntary cancellations. They are, however, offering waivers to reschedule trips and relaxing their cancellation policies.

Regarding travel insurance, unless your insurance policy covers cancellation for any reason, claims related to cancellation are still being evaluated for cancellations based on covered reasons. If you are ill and are unable to travel, for example, your claim should be honored. If, however, you are cancelling because of the fear of COVID-19, your claims may not be approved since the virus has now been categorized as an epidemic which is an exclusion on most policies.

We love planning your trips and want to make sure that you are comfortable with your decision to travel this beautiful world of ours! We hope that we have provided some unbiased links so that you can make an informed decision about your travel plans. We are here for you if you have any questions or if you need to discuss your particular situation whether you are traveling with us in a Small Group departure, a corporate Incentive trip or an Individual Vacation.

CONTACT US

Call to set up your Individual Travel Consultation!

804-359-3217

804-353-2947

info@tourplaninternational.com

4915 Fitzhugh Ave., Richmond, VA 23230

Monday - Friday: 8:30am to 5:00pm

American Society of Travel Advisors
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