“As an active traveler myself (just back from Mexico and now headed out this weekend to Calgary Alberta), and a trusted expert on adventure travel for some 30 years now, my phone (and e-mail) has been ringing off the hook for my personal insights on the current and forecasted impact of this latest Virus affecting us all,” says Dan Austin, founder and CEO of Austin Adventures in an e-mail.
Due to the current spread of the Coronavirus, and because travelers can’t yet foresee what the circumstances will be like in 30-90 days, Austin Adventures is implementing a lightened cancellation policy. He notes in the e-mail, that “effective immediately, any booked traveler with Austin Adventures has the ‘right’ to postpone any adventure and transfer or apply all associated AA (Austin Adventures) related expenses to another adventure either at a different destination or future date without penalty. No questions asked. Call it Peace of Mind Insurance. These changes must be requested at least 45 days before scheduled travel. An escrow account can be set up without having to commit to where or when. Period! We are suggesting holding off booking air travel until we get closer to travel dates, interestingly enough this could have the benefit of reduced airfares. You might also consider ‘Cancel for any reason’ Trip insurance offered by our carrier Trip Mate. Its an added expense but might give you that peace of mind you are looking for.”
In addition, Austin says that by the nature of the tour operators tour style of adventure travel, they feel they’re at a lower risk than many think because they are not a big group tour operator. The company avoids crowds on every itinerary, and gets travelers out in the backcountry, on the trails, and in to the fresh air.
Austin adds in the e-mail that, “Ironically this current situation and associated travel restrictions from a wide range of countries around the world will have the unintended effect of fewer crowds (especially from the international travel community) in our National Parks and other iconic destinations. (I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy).
“We remain committed to making educated decisions and doing our part to not overreact and yet take the precautions warranted. As of this writing, we have only one destination (out of 80 plus) adversely affected with preliminary travel restrictions in place and are watching closely. We have contingency plans in place and will be ready with a “Plan B” should the need materialize.”
He adds that, “It is without question our number one priority to keep all of our travelers (and staff) safe and out of harm’s way at all times. This is our commitment without fail to do whatever it takes to keep you safe and make decisions every day to do just that. Far beyond today’s Virus concerns, we work tirelessly 24 hours a day to evaluate a wide range of ever-changing conditions. We do so by staying on top of the details and educating ourselves at a level most might find daunting. We have an extensive network of tools and experts (often on the ground) that we communicate with 24 hours a day, every day.”
For more information, visit austinadventures.com. For more on how tour operators are reacting to the Coronavirus, click here. And, don’t miss “Novel Coronavirues Travel Questions—What to Tell Wary Travelers.”