Coronavirus - latest update
by Richard Visick, 22 September 2020
With autumn now setting in, thoughts are now turning to the forthcoming ski season and the effect that the Coronavirus pandemic will have on ski holidays this winter.
European ski resorts are now starting to release details of how they plan to keep skiers safe. However, there remains a huge amount of uncertainty about how the pandemic will affect our ability to travel to those resorts over the coming months, and to what extent the necessary changes that resorts are having to make will impact on your enjoyment of a ski holiday.
At the time of writing, three of the four main Alpine countries (Austria, France and Switzerland) are subject to FCO travel restrictions, with advice against all but essential travel and the obligation to quarantine for 14 days on return to the UK, with no clarity on when these restrictions might be lifted.
At the same time, ski lift companies, ski schools, hotels, bars, restaurants, and all other ski resort infrastructure are trying to plan how they will be able to operate while fulfilling the requirements for social distancing and all the associated Covid-19 protocols.
When the pandemic first broke out in Europe sending most countries into lockdown in March, we quickly repatriated all clients who were in resort at the time, and cancelled all remaining bookings for the rest of the winter. It was important for us to fulfil both our legal obligations (under the terms of the Package Travel Regulations) and our moral obligations to our customers, by issuing full cash refunds to everyone whose holidays had to be cancelled. We were pleased to be one of the first ski companies to do so, and are proud to have been included by Which? in their list of travel companies you can trust with your money.
Looking forward to Winter 2020-21, as a responsible tour operator we feel it would be ill-considered to expect our customers to commit to a holiday unless we could guarantee that we would be able to deliver that holiday as booked or, in a worst case scenario, to give a full cash refund if the trip was unable to go ahead.
Given the ongoing uncertainty around travel, we believe that now is not the right time to be booking a ski holiday for this winter, and we have therefore made the decision to put a temporary hold on accepting new holiday bookings until we have the clarity and assurances we need to be able to fulfil our commitments to you.
We are working closely with our suppliers and industry bodies to ensure that we will be able to give you the necessary guarantees to allow you to book your holiday with total confidence and we expect to be able to start booking again in the near future.
In the meantime, this doesn’t mean that we can’t talk about skiing, discuss holiday options, and make suggestions and recommendations for your next trip. We would be delighted to talk through ideas with you, to advise you (with no strings attached) so that you are ready to get something booked as soon as the time is right.
We will also be issuing regular updates on news from the Alps and the provisions that resorts, hotels, airlines and transfer companies etc are putting in place to keep you safe and to make Winter 2020/21 a successful ski season.
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Stay safe and remember #WeWillSkiAgain
by Fraser Wilkin, 1 May 2020
As you will be aware, the 2019-20 Alpine ski season came to a premature end in the middle of March due to action taken by local and national authorities to combat the spread of the Coronavirus.
We are pleased to confirm that we were able to quickly repatriate all clients who were in resort at the time, and that we have now refunded everyone whose holidays we had to cancel.
Naturally, we remain positive with regards to Winter 2020-21 and will continue to provide our clients with regular updates on how COVID-19 may affect any future travel plans.
With so much uncertainty about exactly what the future might hold, it may not yet be the right time to make a new booking for next year, but it is never too early to start dreaming of hitting the slopes!
We are more than happy to provide you with inspiration for your first ski holiday after lock-down so you don’t have to start planning from scratch when the world starts opening up again.
Booking with confidence
Remember that booking with snow-wise means booking with confidence that your holiday is fully financially protected, for every eventuality. All our clients whose holidays we had to cancel due to the Coronavirus pandemic have received full cash refunds.
As a member of the Travel Trust Association (TTA), any money we receive from you for your holiday must be paid directly into a trust account where it is held on your behalf. We cannot use your money to pay our suppliers or to cashflow our business until you have received your holiday and returned from travel, or we have taken out additional insurance to protect against the failure of our suppliers. This is a completely different model for financial protection than used by most other industry regulators.
You are additionally protected against our financial failure through our ATOL licence (T7500) for flight-inclusive packages, and the TTA’s “Stand Alone Safe Seat Guarantee” for all bookings (including accommodation only, and packages without flights) .
2019-2020 proved to be one of the most challenging winters in recent memory for the ski industry - first with February’s extreme weather (Storms Ciara and Dennis) and then with the outbreak of COVID-19. However, we pride ourselves in our integrity and always doing the right thing by our customers, whether that be quickly organising alternative travel arrangements or repatriation, or providing full cash refunds for cancelled holidays in the shortest time possible.
Take a look at our Facebook reviews to see just how satisfied our clients have been during these difficult times!
Looking to the future...
No doubt there will be many challenges ahead, but with your support we are optimistic that we can continue to provide exceptional tailor-made luxury ski holidays for many years to come…