Travel Health Advisory: Coronavirus Update

Two’s a Crowd takes the health and well-being of our clients very seriously. We continue to closely monitor developments of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) by sourcing information daily from credible sources including the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Smart Traveller) and our in-country tour operators.

Following the Federal Government’s announcements, including the direction that Australian’s cannot travel overseas at this time, all departures up to 31st December 2020 have been postponed.  Affected clients have been/will be offered a credit to travel on the rescheduled tour.  The team is or will be in contact with those clients in order of departure date. 

Subject to advice from health authorities and border regulations, our aim is to run postponed tours at a similar time in 2021. Once again the team will advise affected clients when more details are known. 

Some clients have asked why they can’t get a full refund of monies paid to Two’s a Crowd and are instead being offered a credit. There are two reasons for this:

1.  We all want the product that we arranged for clients to be delivered. The best option for all involved is for travel arrangements to be postponed This will ensure the industry can recover when the virus is under control and international travel gets back to normal. It should, in most cases, also result in a much better outcome for customers, as the obligations for suppliers to refund in the current environment may be validly limited by suppliers through their booking conditions or general legal principles.

 2. We are also unable to refund as we do not have those funds in the business – they have been paid out to suppliers like hotels, airlines and land operators up to 12 months earlier. Our suppliers are not refunding because they would have likely also incurred expenses, and may not have a legal obligation to refund where travel is cancelled due to unexpected and extraordinary events outside of their control. You may hear suppliers talk about Coronavirus being an ‘event of force majeure’, which basically means that the performance of their contractual obligations is impossible due to current events associated with the pandemic – i.e., border closures. We are aware that many suppliers have agreed to issue credits for future travel – by offering credits, suppliers could in fact be offering customers more than they are legally obliged to offer. We also hear that they want to supply their service at a later date and ensure the industry’s long term survival. Mass refunds will cause mass business failure and significant job losses.

Two’s a Crowd is well aware of its obligations under both Federal and State consumer legislation. The offer of  a credit is in line with the latest guidance from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and industry advice from  the AFTA Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS) of which Two’s a Crowd is a full member.

In accordance with state government directives, our office has been closed and the team is working from home. We expect this will continue until at least the end of June. While the most efficient way to communicate with us is via email. Our email address is [email protected]

Please note that we are operating with a skeleton staff  for the foreseeable future. This may mean a delay in responding to you. We apologise in advance. 

We thank you all for your patience and understanding during this very difficult time.

 

Ken, Alison, Bernadette, Pauline & Thao. 

 

9th October 2020

 

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