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COVID-19: Advice for travellers

An important update on Extended Tours

It has been a challenging time for all of us and our thoughts go out to all our travelling clients. Each day has brought about more news and information and we are all trying to digest what is going on as best we can. Businesses often learn of their fate as the clients do, when politicians address the nation on a green lawn where they can be seen to be standing distantly from their colleagues who are waiting for their turn to deliver more news.

It has been difficult to stop and communicate to our valued clients when the situation seems to be so dire and often changeable within a short amount of time. However, we took the opportunity this weekend to put some thoughts on paper and try as best we can to cover some topics that may be of interest to our clients.

International travel will be off the table for the foreseeable future

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said international travel restrictions had “played a key role and will continue to play a key role” in keeping Australians safe from COVID-19.

“This is a time where, unfortunately, people can’t undertake holidays and they won’t be able to go overseas for some time to come,” Senator Birmingham said.

What about travel within Australia?

Tourism Australia managing director Pip Harrison said it was “highly likely” domestic travel restrictions would lift before international.

“The process is likely to be gradual,” she said.

“So our focus will most likely start with domestic travel; we’ll be strongly encouraging Australians to holiday at home.”

Australian Federation of Travel Agents chief executive Jayson Westbury said “You do sense the veil will be lifted in most parts of Australia during the course of this year. We’re keen to see people get going again as long as it can be done in a safe way.”

Christian’s Bus Tours for 2020

The health and safety of our travelling guests and bus safety workers will always be our priority above all else. Knowing this, at a point in time, we will have to make decisions about whether tours in 2020 can proceed as planned or be postponed.

The tours will either proceed or be postponed.

If a tour must be postponed, then all deposits paid for the tour will be transferred to the new date of the tour. This is consistent with the actions of the entire travel industry, as mass refunds would ‘cause’ mass business failure and significant job losses.

All moneys and deposits put down for the upcoming Central Australia tour for example were paid to hold seats on the plane or rooms in the hotel and the airlines and hotels policies are allowing us to change our travel dates to a time that will be safe for all to visit.

So when do we make the call?

Given the information above and the ever-changing landscape that we are operating in, we have decided to wait until 55 to 60 days prior to the scheduled departure date to decide on whether the tour will proceed. This allows us enough time to amend the hotel and airline bookings, whilst also receive timely advice from the health and tourism authorities.

We felt that 90 days prior to the departure would be too early to make a call and the health authorities may change their advice on travel between then and the departure date.

We also felt that leaving the call to 30 days would be too close to the departure date, and that hotels and airlines may not allow us to amend the bookings we have with them, as it would be too close to the departure date.

What if you have a booking on a Christian’s Bus tour?

We will contact you 55 to 60 days prior to the tour and inform you if the tour will depart as planned or be postponed.

What else has been happening?

Our normal operations of school bus, urban and regional transport for the public have all continued to operate as normal – for now. Our staff have been placing great efforts to mitigate the risk of a COVID-19 infection for any bus safety worker or bus passenger that comes aboard one of our buses. For more information on our response please click here.

Our tours coordinator Sue Smale is working reduced hours from home and can be contacted by email with any questions you may have –

In summary

  • If a tour was to depart as scheduled it would only do so if state borders had reopened and health authorities deemed it safe to travel
  • We would like to still provide the tour for our guests, but only if it can be done safely.
  • We will make a call 55 to 60 days prior to the scheduled departure date. This allows us to make decisions upon relevant health advice available at that time
  • If you would like to cancel off a tour, you can do so at any point in time, per the terms and conditions of your ticket
  • When things get back to normal, we will be working hard to coordinate more tours as travel is a part of us all, and domestic travel will bounce before international travel
  • We wish all our clients well during this tough time for all of us, please hang in there!
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