COVID-19 (Coronavirus) travel update
Updated Tuesday 26th May 2020
Firstly, we wanted to thank you for your patience. We apologise that we may not have been able to provide our usual levels of service whilst we have made arrangements for a number of our staff to work from home.
During this time, we have been working hard to determine how best we are able to support and advise our customers.
We have engaged with a number of professional, trade and other organisations within the youth and educational travel sector to understand the impact of the guidance issued by the UK Government, including specific restrictions imposed by the Department for Education (“DfE”). We have also researched the position with the Association of British Insurers (“ABI”) who represent the UK insurance industry.
If the current advice from the UK Government means your group will be unable to travel, and this therefore has resulted in the cancellation of your trip, we are very pleased to advise the following:
- The ABI advises that educational establishments should be able to make an insurance claim against their policy where government advice has prevented the trip from going ahead. https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/coronavirus-hub/insurance-for-schools
- The School Travel Forum (“STF”), also has confirmation from the DfE, that education providers who are members of the Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) scheme will be able to claim for trips cancelled in this academic year https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-risk-protection-arrangement-rpa-for-schools#full
- The STF together with the Outdoor Education Advisors Panel (“OEAP”), the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (“CLOtC”) and the Association of School and College Leaders (“ASCL”) are all working closely with educational establishments and educational travel operators to provide clarity and they have issued joint advice confirming that the government actions will allow those affected to make an insurance claim.
- For colleges and universities who are not members of the Risk Protection Arrangement, the ABI advice would suggest that you will be able to claim on your General Liability Insurance where government advice has prevented the trip from going ahead. We recommend that you check your college’s or university’s advice on how to make a claim through your insurance provider.
If you have chosen to defer your trip, then confirmation of this new booking will follow shortly, if you have not already received this.
Travel After 01 June 2020 (for departures in the 2019-20 academic year)
We do understand that there is considerable uncertainty about when and how restrictions on travel will be lifted, yet as things stand, we are faced with no option but to treat trips scheduled to start this summer as going ahead until Government advice changes.
Conscious of the fact that there will be reluctancy to make the further payments which become due as the travel date approaches, we have written to establishments travelling in June or July 2020 to advise that we have extended the deadline for payment of final balance until 14 days (instead of 70 days) before travel date.
To ease the time pressure on a cancellation decision, we have also decided that if travel restrictions have not been lifted at least 21 days before the travel date, and the tour has not previously cancelled, then we will treat the booking as having been cancelled with effect from 17 March 2020, the date on which the UK Government advised against overseas travel. For schools, we will treat the booking as having been cancelled with effect from 12 March 2020 or 23 March 2020, the date on which the UK Government advised against overseas and UK school trips, respectively.
Equally, if you wish to cancel before this date, provided you cancel at least 21 days before your travel date and by reason of travel restrictions, we will deem your cancellation to have been effected on 12 March 2020, 17 March 2020 or 23 March 2020 for the purpose of applying our cancellation policy, being the date when travel restrictions or school travel restrictions became effective on overseas and UK trips. We are offering this flexibility to ensure that if you cancel anytime from today, and at least 21 days prior to your travel date, you will only pay the cancellation charges that were applicable at the time the UK Government advised against overseas travel or overseas or UK school trips (17 March 2020, 12 March 2020 or 23 March 2020, respectively).
We thank you for your support at a time we know has been uncertain and challenging for schools and organisations working with young people and we look forward to looking after you and your groups as soon as government advice allows.