Travel in a COVID-19 world
The world is in a state of upheaval due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The severity of the pandemic became clear in March when Canada issued an (indefinite) entry ban for non-essential travel. From that moment on, Nature Trek Canada has taken a pro-active approach and, by means of biweekly updates, has kept all its travelers informed of the constantly changing developments.
Additionally we discussed the various options with each (group of) traveler(s) namely:
- Postponing the trip to 2021. Deposits for bookings made through our consolidator in the Netherlands will be passed on to 2021 OR travelers will receive the so-called Corona voucher for the same amount. The voucher’s value is guaranteed through the SGR initiative (a government-initiated fund).
- Refund of bookings made in the Netherlands (flights, campers, and car rental).
- Bookings made in Canada had to be cancelled (almost all of them at little or no cost) or transferred to a 2021/2022 Canada trip.
- We provided each party with a detailed overview of deposits paid and what would happen in various scenarios (cancellation, re-booking for 2021).
For both Nature Trek Canada and its travelers, the result has been that due to the entry ban, all 2020 trips eventually had to be canceled. Of 65 parties, 48 ??have now re-scheduled their Canada trip for 2021 (or even 2022).
What became clear to us (Lo and Annemarie) is that:
- Being proactive and transparent Nature Trek Canada travelers know where they stand. This leads to positive communication and balanced decisions made for each arrangement.
- Travelers who book through a travel agency (such as Nature Trek Canada) have more options and can make use of Nature Trek’s (local) connections to further their interests – Nature Trek Canada has arranged with local operators that virtually ALL bookings (excursions, ferries, accommodation, domestic flights, etc.) could be canceled free of charge or became vouchers for a future booking.
- By being proactive as an organization, travelers will still have to make decisions but do not have to look for information themselves – Nature Trek Canada works on their behalf and represents the interests of every traveler.
- As a small organization (3 permanent employees), we can be flexible and spend time with each party of travelers to evaluate options and properly complete the process of cancellation and/or re-booking of the Nature Trek Canada travel package.
A few of the comments Nature Trek’s travelers sent us:
First of all, thank you for the way you communicate. The message may not pleasant, but it is clear and concise. Neil Brent (UK)
Thank you for your clear and comprehensive overview of our travel options during the Corona pandemic. Drees family (Germany).
Fortunately, we are doing well. First of all we would like to thank you for the updates and clear information, what a job! Alexandro Gomez, Italy