Travel for the Arts’ programme and our ability to deal with enquiries are of course being seriously challenged by the Covid-19 outbreak. We expect that by now you will be familiar with the advice pages from the Government, FCO and ABTA:
Our non-furloughed staff are working from home and processing tour cancellations in chronological order of tour departure date. Direct lines have all been forwarded but those working can only see and deal with one call at a time; we would very much appreciate emails rather than calls where possible and this could result in a faster response. We apologise sincerely for any inconvenience. Cancellation of future tours on the basis of FCO advice applies one month into the future at any time so it can be difficult for us to give advice for tours planned to depart later than that, unless whole festivals or seasons are cancelled.
Trying to recover deposits paid to airlines, opera houses, festivals, local suppliers etc.is proving extremely challenging, given that many of those suppliers are, in turn, under lockdown. The process is very slow – if we get answers at all. In some cases, I’m sorry to report that some hotels have refused point blank either to postpone or to refund any part of the payments we have sent them, despite being closed at the intended time of the tour. When tours are cancelled, in line with guidelines issued by ABTA we are asking clients first to consider accepting a Refund Credit Note (RCN) to the same value as the money paid to us. The RCN can be used to book a future tour if you wish, and is fully protected by our ABTA/ATOL bonding. You have until 31st January 2021 to make a decision about future travel plans and if you haven’t decided about a future tour by 31st January 2021, you are entitled to a full cash refund. Full details of the ABTA scheme and Q+A’s can be found on their website; their protection has been extended to cover all RCN’s issued in respect of bookings affected by Covid-19; ABTA now advises that the same cover is extended to bookings made under the ATOL scheme, and that the same procedure should be followed. To expedite correspondence on refunds, please note we have created a specific email address: email@example.com.
On a positive note, we are working on plans for some exciting offerings for late 2020 and 2021 with the observation of all health and safety protocols as top priority. We are all looking forward with eager anticipation to the re-start of live music making and hope you and yours are remaining fit and healthy through these extraordinary times.
Chairman & CEO
Updated 1st July 2020