Agents' Choice 2020

COVID-19 Report: ACV, Royal Irish and More

ACV Launches Flexible Rebooking Policy

Air Canada Vacations (ACV) is implementing a flexible rebooking policy for existing bookings.

For all vacation packages, including Group bookings, purchased before March 4 with original travel dates up to April 30, travellers can make one free change or cancel their booking to apply the value to a new trip with alternate travel dates.

For existing Group bookings, travellers may change the travel dates or cancel with an in-house travel credit up to 21 days before departure, with the credit to be used towards the same destination and hotel property.

This group flexibility is valid for select destinations and resorts in Las Vegas, Mexico and the Caribbean, Hawaii and Europe, for bookings made prior to March 4 with original travel dates up to April 30.

For both existing individual and Group booking changes, travel must be completed by Dec. 31.

When booking your clients’ group with Air Canada Vacations, travellers can also benefit from a reduced deposit of only $50 per person between now and March 31 for travel until April 30, 2021.

for select destinations and resorts in Las Vegas, Mexico and the Caribbean, Hawaii and Europe.

For cruise bookings, ACV will adhere to the cruise line goodwill policy terms.

“We understand that your customers may want to make alternate travel arrangements, so we’ve implemented flexible rebooking policies,” said Dana Gain, senior director of sales, Groups & Partnerships at Air Canada Vacations. “Air Canada Vacations will continue monitoring the situation to ensure that we can serve you reliably and with safety top of mind.”

UNWTO, WHO Agree to Further Co-operation

The Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Zurab Pololikashvili led a high-delegation to the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva yesterday to further advance the two agencies’ co-ordinated response to the worldwide coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed the delegation and thanked UNWTO for its close collaboration since the very start of the ongoing public health emergency. On the back of the productive meetings, the heads of both United Nations agencies stressed the need to include the following guiding principles:

The importance of international co-operation and responsible leadership at this critical time

The solidarity of the tourism sector and of individual tourists, as well as the responsibility both have for helping minimize the spread and impact of COVID-19

The key role tourism can play in both containing the COVID-19 outbreak and in leading future response efforts

UNWTO Secretary-General Pololikashvili said, “The COVID-19 outbreak is first and foremost a public health issue. UNWTO is following the lead of WHO, with whom we have enjoyed an excellent working relationship from day one. This meeting reaffirmed the importance of strong co-operation and international solidarity and I welcome the director-general’s recognition of the role tourism can play both now and in the future.”

Pololikashvili added that the tourism value chain touches upon every part of society. This makes tourism uniquely placed to promote solidarity, collaboration and concrete action across borders in these challenging times and also ideally positioned to once again drive future recovery.

At the same time, the heads of UNWTO and WHO called for responsible communications and reporting of the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak. The UN agencies stress the importance of ensuring all communications and actions are evidence-based so as to avoid stigmatizing sections of society and spreading panic.

MSC Cruises Canada Introduces Cruise Assurance Program

MSC Cruises Canada has launched a “Cruise Assurance” program, providing guests with greater flexibility for existing and new reservations made between now and July 31.

With the new program, for sailings on or before July 31, guests booked through MSC Cruises Canada have the option to cancel their existing reservation up to 48 hours prior to departure and receive a Future Cruise Credit for the amount paid. The credit can be applied to any future cruise of their choice departing on or before Dec. 31, 2021.

Guests booked directly with MSC Cruises Canada or through one of its travel partners in Canada, who are interested in participating in MSC’s Cruise Assurance program should work with their preferred travel advisor or for more information on the Cruise Assurance program, visit https://www.msccruises.ca/cruise-deals/cruise-assurance-program.

Royal Irish Offers New Flexible Booking Policy

Royal Irish Tours (RIT) has introduced a new booking policy for 2020 travel, to give agents peace of mind in booking their clients’ Ireland or UK vacation.

For all new bookings made from March 5-31, Royal Irish will have a fully flexible policy in place to allow guests to postpone their trip for any reason up to 14 days before departure. This is for new bookings only, and guests can travel on any later departure date in 2020.

RIT will continue to monitor the situation, but like other operators and airlines, they are working hard to ensure peace of mind for consumers and agents.

“We want agents to be able to continue to sell our product with confidence. It’s a tough time for us all, and our partners on the ground in Ireland & the UK have been fantastic in light of what’s happening. We are happy to be able to offer this flexibility,” said Conor Duffy, director, Royal Irish Tours.

For any questions or concerns, call 905-773-6773 or e-mail info@ritvacations.com.

explora Modifies Cancellation Policies

explora reports it has decided to change its modification and cancellation policies for new bookings made as of March 9 with check-out dates up to Nov. 1 because of COVID-19.

The South American resort firm says the special conditions basically consider the following:

When making your reservation, you pay only 10% of the total booking amount as a guarantee, instead of the usual 30%.

The remaining 90% shall be collected 10 days before the check-in date.

No charges apply if the cancellation is made up to seven days before the check-in.

“We hope these special flexibility-oriented measures can help you to better deal with the challenges currently faced by our industry, which we know requires additional efforts from all of us,” explora says. More information is available by e-mailing reserve@explora.com.

Safety Remains Priority With Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines reports it remains highly vigilant about passenger and crew safety and has taken extra measures since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic to mitigate its effects and spreading.

In addition to monitoring for the latest developments on the virus, and closely working with international health and aviation authorities, the following actions are being taken:

Ensuring cabin air is constantly cleaned during the flight by hospital-grade High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters. This filtration system periodically and completely refreshes the air during the flight.

Before the entrance of standard cleaning staff, a special team of four hygiene staff clean the aircraft in detail with disinfectants.

The surfaces passengers come into contact with such as tray tables, in-flight entertainment screens, seatbelt buckles and overhead bins are cleaned thoroughly with strong disinfectants.

All in-flight passenger items including blankets, pillows and headphones undergo an enhanced cleaning process. All hygienic and cleaned textiles are folded without touch and packaged by automatic machinery.

The Istanbul Airport now has 11 Border Health Check points that have been placed throughout airport. There are also thermal cameras in place at various points and 100% of the oxygen is renewed via the ventilation systems throughout the airport.

(https://bit.ly/3cGPtV7)

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