Updated 17th March 2020
We are all still assessing the impact of the UK government’s news yesterday. Scuba Travel have been arranging holidays for 25 years and the steps announced yesterday are - to put it simply - unprecedented. We understand these new guidelines are necessary to keep as many people safe as possible, and will impact each and every one of us.
We know you have questions about what the recent government guidelines mean to you and your holiday, and how it will affect your booking with us. Please be assured, we are working round the clock to assist everyone.
Our priority at the moment is our divers that are currently outside of the UK and with travel planned to depart in the next 7 days. We keep hearing this is a fast moving situation, and this is very true for international travel. Changes are coming through thick and fast. Be it from our homes or our office, our support team is doing everything in their power to get every single passenger back with the minimum disruption possible.
What can you do today?
More info will be released in the coming hours and days, and will bring more clarity. Airlines and the FCO are constantly updating their schedules and guidance.
We will always follow the FCO travel advisory that is in place for your scheduled date of travel.
If you have not already checked out the FCO’s page for your planned destination, bookmark it today, and sign up for the email alerts to keep yourself up to date:
Be aware: travel advisories change and information is intended for imminent travel
In the meantime we do ask, unless your travel is imminent, please hang fire with calls and emails.
We will be in touch with everyone scheduled to depart between now and 16th April, but have to prioritise those departing soonest. We will be in touch with full info of what to do next and what the options are. Your holidays may be affected in different ways, depending on your destination.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice is in relation to imminent departures and if you have booked a package and are not due to travel imminently, we will decide on an ongoing basis how far in advance we’ll begin offering alternative arrangements or providing rebooking. Imminent travel is generally considered to be within the next few days.
I have a holiday planned with Scuba Travel departing before 16th April
Don’t worry if you don’t hear from us immediately about how the new changes affect your planned holiday. It doesn’t mean we have forgotten you or your holiday is not able to go ahead. We need to work through everyone affected chronologically and systematically to make sure everyone is taken care of.
We would ask that, if your planned holiday is not be able to proceed, you consider finding a date in your diary to reschedule your trip, even if that is 2021. It goes without saying that those fantastic dive centres and liveaboards that were looking forward to welcoming you to their sunny shores will be as devastated by the affects of covid-19 restrictions as you are. They will be just as happy to share their incredible diving with you at a later date, once it is once again safe to travel.
If you are not sure when that might be, there’s no rush! We are happy to issue a credit note for the full value of your trip to be redeemed for any booking that travels before the end of December 2022.
I have a holiday planned with Scuba Travel departing after 16th April
The latest UK guidelines appear to be planned to impact travel for the next 30 days. By taking drastic action now and dramatically changing our daily lives and habits, we share hopes that the spread of covid-19 can be seriously limited. We all need to work together to achieve this. The team at Scuba Travel hope that the steps introduced yesterday are what is needed to enable life to get back to a more normal pace after 30 days. We will of course review this though in line with government advice.
If you are due to travel after 16th April please wait for further updates. The current guidelines are for 30 day period and this means holidays after this date currently would still be departing as originally booked. If you balance becomes due, do remember: your chosen airlines and destination will still be due to be paid.
We know the situation may change. We are a fully bonded ATOL tour operator and we work within the framework - and to the time frames - set out by the UK government.
If you prefer to cancel your trip, you will need to be aware that standard T&Cs apply. We encourage you to check with your travel insurance before making a decision.
Stay safe - follow the guidelines
The most important thing you can do today is stay safe, follow government guidelines and remember to keep an eye out for those people around you who might need some extra help.
Diving is a community sport and although it might be a few weeks or months until we can do it again, we all look forward to once again being able to get back to the place we love the most, underwater.
Further information on Coronavirus, including advice on preparing for foreign travel and helping reduce the spread of the virus, is available from Public Health England and on the TravelHealthPro website.
Please see below for a Q&A for customers who are planning to travel to destinations with reported cases of coronavirus. 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.
Q: What happens if my travel plans are affected?
A: Your travel plans may be affected in different ways, depending on Foreign Office advice. If the Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against travel to a destination and your holiday arrangements have been affected, we will get in touch and advise you of the options open to you. Travellers are advised to read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advice for the country they are travelling to, which includes a link through to the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) TravelHealthPro website that provides specific travel health advice for countries. The Foreign Office also has a specific page with more information on Coronavirus.
Q: When am I not entitled to a full refund?
A: The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice is in relation to imminent departures and if you have booked a package and are not due to travel imminently, we will decide on an ongoing basis how far in advance we’ll begin offering alternative arrangements.
Q: What does ‘imminent travel’ mean?
A: There is no legal definition and each company has their own process for managing future departures; however imminent travel is generally considered to be within the next few days.
The safety of travellers is a priority for everyone, and our decisions will follow Government advice, which is based on their objective assessment of risk. Customers should monitor FCO advice and updates and ensure that we have your up to date contact details so we can get in touch.
Q: If I cannot follow my initial travel plans due to the Coronavirus outbreak, am I entitled to compensation?
A: You won’t be entitled to any compensation, as the reason for the holiday not continuing is outside the control of the tour operator.
Q: I’ve booked a flight to a country where the Foreign Office currently advises against all but essential travel to a country or a specific resort or area of the country, what are my rights?
A: Speak to your airline to check what the airline’s policy is. You should also check your travel insurance to see if this will cover any additional costs including your accomodation and diving arrangements if your airline is not flying on your scheduled departure date..
Q: What if I'm unsure about going on my holiday?
A: 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 to a destination when it judges the level of risk to be unacceptably high. If there is no Government advice against travel to your destination, you’re free to make the choice not to go, but there's 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 isn’t normally 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 our decisions will follow British Government advice – so people can book their package holiday with confidence, safe in the knowledge that they will be looked after should the FCO travel advice change in the destination they are planning to go to.
Q: I have a pre-existing medical condition and do not want to travel – can I get a refund if I cancel my holiday?
A: 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.
Q: Countries are introducing entry restrictions and enhanced screening procedures – will this affect me?
A: Customers should keep up to date with the latest FCO travel advice updates for the destination they are travelling to, as restrictions can change at short notice. Should any restrictions directly apply to you or members of your party then speak to your travel company to discuss your options.
As a precautionary measure enhanced health screening procedures have been put in place at arrival and departure areas in many countries. Travellers should comply with these processes and take relevant preventative measures to reduce the risk of exposure.
Q: There are a number of public areas and attractions that have been closed in the destination that I am travelling to – can I get a refund if I cancel my holiday?
A: This would not normally give you the right to a refund. If excursions or attractions that are included in the price of your holiday are closed or can’t go ahead, and this significantly changes your package holiday or impacts your overall experience, then you might be entitled to a refund. If you are aware of such limitations, then speak to your travel company to discuss your options.
Q: I’m seeing reports of people being quarantined in their hotel, what does this mean?
A: Local health authorities may decide to impose restrictions on hotel guests while they conduct investigations or carry out tests. These are preventative measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus and customers should comply with instructions given by the health authorities.
If anyone would like to speak to us, all of our team are aware of the situation.
We will be in contact with anyone whose holiday maybe affected, in most cases we are able to offer a different flight route options to enable us to fullfil your holidays