There’s no denying that we’re in pretty unchartered territory right now, and it’s during these testing times that we need to pull together more than we ever have before. Little things like checking in on an old friend, purchasing essential supplies for an elderly relative and showing your support to our brilliant NHS go a very, very long way in instances such as this.
If you’re reading as a budding travel-enthusiast who can’t wait to tick that next dreamy beach getaway or intriguing city break adventure off your holiday hit list, we also have a small favour to ask. These unprecedented circumstances have the potential to really take their toll on the package holiday industry, and we’re counting on you to keep the travel spark alive.
The various restrictions put in place by countries all around the globe have impacted many sectors, though none much more so than travel. Right now, package holidaymakers who have seen their trips cancelled due to COVID-19 are entitled to all of their money back within a two week window – this is estimated to include two million bookings in the first month of the government’s warning against all but essential travel, which equates to around £1bn, that the Package Travel Regulations 2018 indicates should go back to customers. Clearly, the longer the disruption goes on for, the more money holiday companies will have to send back to travellers which could potentially present many with increasing levels of financial insecurity.
However, there is another option. And this is where we need you.
If you’re one of the millions who had a holiday booked in the next few months, you’ll be entitled to a full refund if or when your trip is cancelled, though you also have the opportunity to save jobs, save businesses and save the industry.
Instead of exercising your right to a full refund, please, if you can, simply postpone your trip and ask for the amount to be given back to you via vouchers which you can then use to rebook once the various travel bans have been lifted. This keeps much-needed cash in the travel sector at no extra cost to you and at a time when holiday companies need it most.
Your favourite travel brands, such as those found on icelolly.com, face a tough period of uncertainty in the coming weeks, and potentially months, given the difficulties that come with selling any new package holiday. Cashflow problems could then amplify if such brands have to hand back copious amounts of money they already have due to cancellation refunds.
In fact, the European Commission recently updated their guidance about refunds, encouraging holidaymakers to accept the voucher option which can be redeemed to book a new holiday for any point during the subsequent two years. Should you opt for this, you don’t need to worry about your voucher becoming void or it slipping your mind as anyone who doesn’t claim it before the 24 month period is up will then be entitled to the sum in cash.
Also, should the travel firm you hold a voucher with be forced into liquidation at any stage during the two years, your money would still be protected by the government-backed ATOL scheme.
In this situation, everyone is a winner - customers have assurance that they will still either get a holiday or their money back, whilst travel brands are able to hold onto much-needed cash during this testing phase for the industry.
You may have seen that the government has initiated measures to support airlines, though it has not yet announced any specific actions to help the wider package holiday community such as travel agents and tour operators.
Not forgetting the fact that if you were to postpone or have the cost of your holiday sent back to you in vouchers, you still, essentially, have a holiday to look forward to once this is all over. You could even spend those long days lounging around the house planning your itinerary for said upcoming break or perhaps browse the net for new travel essentials to take with you. The options are plentiful.
So please, if you can; keep your money in the industry and help do your bit to support travel firms during these testing and unprecedented times. We’re all in this together!
Published on 14th September 2017
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Published on 19th September 2017