Covid-19 Travel Update
Published: 17 March 2020
Effective as of 17th March 2020
Sports Tours Overseas Ltd www.stotravel.co.uk
Covid-19 Travel Update
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have recently raised their advice levels to numerous worldwide countries, advising against all necessary travel to most of the destinations popular or synonymous with group sporting tours.
Government delivered advisories and notifications are published here:- https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
STO Travel are currently in discussions primarily with our travel bond providers (https://www.abtot.com/),The Civil Aviation Authority, the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) and all relevant organisations and policy makers within the travel industry in relation to determine how to process cancelled bookings as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. It has been determined by UK policy makers that the scale of the pandemic dictates that refunds due within the normal 14 days, as directed by the package travel regulations, will not be possible. There are a number of solutions being discussed at government level that may include the possibility of holding the bookings as a credit, to be used in a future date and or further support for operators in obtaining refunds paid out to suppliers that make up elements of the packages sold.
The travel industry equates to around 10% of the GDP and without urgent sensible support from our government we believe that health, social and economic problems will severely compound the problems that we are already facing as a nation.
As a company we will be working through each of our current tours that are travelling or are due to travel in date order to provide the best level of service during these uncertain times. This will require detailed communication with our suppliers in the destinations that you were due to travel. Our suppliers are overwhelmed & worried about the scale of the cancellations & the effects on their businesses & need time to respond to our requests.
We are very grateful to our customers who appreciate & accept that we are living during challenging times and moving their tour dates to a later period so that we can continue to support the economies and destinations that have been devastated by the pandemic. We will look to price match tour fees for 2021 and waive cancellation and re booking fees with additional support for any further requests where possible.
We appreciate that you will be seeking immediate clarification on your tour status and undoubtedly fielding questions from tour members, students and parents of your group. The nature of the scale of this announcement, in conjunction with the volume of groups travelling during the traditional touring periods requires us to be thoroughly informed and accurate in responses to you.
Thank you to all our customers for their patience and understanding during these difficult times.