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Tour operators push relaunch back until August

Tour operators push relaunch back until August

Adventure tour operators Exodus Travels and Headwater Holidays are extending the suspension of all their tours until August 16th.

The move comes as a result of the ongoing global impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Customers will receive an ABTA bonded refund credit note which can then be used towards any new booking made by January next year.

Travel will be permitted on any date up until the end of March 2022.

Refund Credit Notes can be exchanged for refunds from January next year if a booking is not made by then.

All travel agent partners with passengers booked on tours affected by this suspension are being contacted by the tour operators to discuss the available options.

Too Soon

The decision comes as tour operators are urged to remain visible in the marketplace but avoid relaunching holiday programs too early.

Analysts argue this could not only cause irritation, but humiliation if travel restrictions are extended longer than expected.

Johanna Bonhill-Smith, tourism analyst at GlobalData, explained: “Stating an actual date for when holiday programs will commence will undoubtedly create hope and generate wanderlust for consumers.


“Yet in the long run, if the travel suspension continues, operators that have accepted new bookings to areas before it is possible to travel will create more confusion, irritation and possible reputational damage.”

Balance sheets for the first three months of the year will have taken a substantial knock and companies have to accept that demand is irrecoverable for quarter one.

The global market value of travel intermediaries was US$332 billion in 2019 having increased by 6.2 per cent from the previous year, highlighting the significance of this sector.

Bonhill-Smith added: “In order to retain customer trust, companies are better off delaying holidays for the foreseeable future and investing time into developing a connection with consumers and acknowledging new markets in order to adapt to the future ahead.”

Jet2 Holidays is one of the first operators to have announced that both flights and holidays will resume by June 17th.

Other travel companies have extended the suspension of operations.

TUI, the European travel giant, announced operations and beach holidays up to and including May 14th were cancelled alongside Marella Cruise Intermediaries up to and including May 31st.