Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last updated: 10 August 2020




COVID-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice

On 17th March 2020 the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised against all non-essential international travel, initially for a period of 30 days. This advice was updated on 5th April, referring to an indefinite period and a further update was issued on 5th June, when FCO amended the wording for the Global All But Essential Travel advice restriction from an "indefinite period" to "currently'.

On 4th July 2020 The FCO updated their advice exempting destinations that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers.

These exemptions came into effect on 4 July. A list of countries assessed as no longer presenting an unacceptably high risk to British people travelling abroad has been published and can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-countries-and-territories-exempt-from-advice-against-all-but-essential-international-travel

FCO advice will remain under constant review to take into account the latest situation in each country.

We are continuing to contact customers in departure date order, as advised by our Tour Operator partners.We are asking our customers to be patient with us as we find ourselves in unprecedented times.

Travel restrictions are gradually lifting, we expect information will continually change by destination over the coming weeks. We are here to assist, but unfortunately there may be delays.

Coronavirus advice for customers

https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak


We operate under official advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), meaning we’re up to date with the latest developments in our featured destinations.

We advise all customers to take out a valid travel insurance policy from the point of making a holiday booking. We recommend that customers check their policy to ensure that it is appropriate for their chosen travel itinerary.

Please see below for a Q&A for customers.

For full information relating to the Coronavirus outbreak please visit the Government website for more information on the risks and advice on the preventative measures.


Coronavirus Q&A

Updated 10 August 2020

If you have a holiday booked travelling before 31st August 2020
Suppliers are contacting us in departure date order. We are contacting our customers in turn as soon as we receive notification from the suppliers, thank you in advance for your patience.
If you have a booking with us and you have been advised of a hotel closure.
A member of our team will be in touch with you shortly. Please be patient as we will be contacting our customers in date of departure order
If you have a holiday booked with us travelling after 31st August 2020
Your booking is currently unaffected unless we contact you. Should this change, please be patient. A member of our team will contact you in departure date order.
If your holiday balance payment is due to be paid.
Please contact us via e-mail escalations@bluebaytravel.co.uk or on live chat to discuss your options. You can chat to us here
What happens if my travel plans are affected?
Your travel plans may be affected in different ways, we will contact you if your holiday is affected to discuss your options.
Each holiday booking is different, and options will depend on your tour operator, departure date and destination. It is and therefore important for us to discuss your individual choices and preferences with you.
The safety of travellers is a priority for travel companies, and their decisions will follow Government advice, which is based on their objective assessment of risk.
The Foreign Office has a specific page with more information on Coronavirus.
There has been a lot of talk about Refund Credit Notes being offered by some tour operators instead of refunds, why is this?
In usual circumstances, if a holiday cannot go ahead, due to FCO advice, a refund can be arranged within 14 days of a cancellation.
Unfortunately, these are not usual circumstances and the Package Travel Regulations were not introduced with a Global Pandemic situation considered.
This means that it has been impossible for many tour operators to make a refund within these guidelines, due to the volume of bookings affected. In addition, many tour operators are working on reduced staffing levels, and are working in an unfamiliar remote environment.
To give tour operators the time to claim refunds back from airline partners and hotels (who are also facing the same challenges), ABTA have endorsed a Refund Credit Note alternative.
What is a Refund Credit Note?
A Refund Credit Note (RCN) is an official Credit Note, for the value of your holiday. It entitles you to rebook a holiday at a future date or receive a cash refund at the expiry date of the note (or sooner).
It also retains the financial protection that you had with your original booking.
If your original booking came with ATOL financial protection (e.g. a package holiday), the RCN will still provide this protection. If your original booking came with ABTA protection (e.g. a cruise holiday or other holiday including raise or coach travel), the RCN will still retain this protection.

RCN’s may look different by tour operator, but they should all comprise the following:
  • An expiry date, which is the date to which your money is protected. You are entitled to rebook or have a cash refund by this date at the latest.
  • The value of the RCN (must be equal in value to the amount you paid for your holiday – or less the amount your travelprovider has refunded if part refund)
  • The original booking details and reference
You should also retain all previous booking documentation including booking confirmation, ATOL Certificate where appropriate, and proof of payments.
Refund Credit Note infographic
What if I want to change my travel plans?
If you have concerns about your holiday, it might be too early to say that your holiday can not go ahead as planned (see specific departure dates we are currently working on above). Therefore, customers with future departure dates will need to wait to find out whether the advice changes and their holiday can continue as planned. If you cancel early you may have to pay cancellation charges.
Each Tour Organiser has their own process for managing future departures; Customers should monitor FCO advice and updates and ensure that we have up to date contact details so we can get in touch if necessary.
Some travel companies are choosing to offer more flexible booking policies as a result of customer concerns over coronavirus, we can advise you on these.
Customers with an existing package holiday booked, and those considering making plans, can have confidence that there are protections in place for package holidays should the travel advice change.
If I cannot follow my initial travel plans due to the Coronavirus outbreak, am I entitled to compensation?
You won’t be entitled to any compensation, as the reason for the holiday not continuing is outside the control of the tour operator.
What if I'm unsure about going on my holiday?
The Government advice is based on its objective assessment of risk and will always put the safety of UK citizens first. The Government will advise against travel when it judges the level of risk to be unacceptably high.
In the current circumstances, each tour operator decides on the departure period they are working on to allow amendments or cancellations. If your booking falls beyond this period, you are free to make the choice not to go, but there is no obligation on your holiday company to give you a refund. Normal cancellation charges will apply.
It is highly unlikely that you will be able to claim any cancellation charge on your insurance as there is not usually cover for disinclination to travel, but you can check the terms of your policy.
The safety of travellers is a priority for travel companies, and their decisions will follow British Government advice.
I have a pre-existing medical condition and do not want to travel – can I get a refund if I cancel my holiday?
As with the above advice, you’re free to make the choice not to travel, but if the FCO are not advising against travel to your destination then there is no obligation on your travel company to give you a refund. Normal cancellation charges will apply.
If your GP has advised that you do not travel, and provided you with official documentation to confirm this, then you will need to check the terms of your travel insurance policy to see if you can claim any cancellation charge back.