Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Last Update 20th March, 09:00
We will update information on this page on a regular basis in order to provide as much information as possible.
We appreciate at the moment it’s an uncertain time with government advice changing daily in relation to Coronavirus (COVID-19), something a few weeks ago we’d never heard of but something that now we find impacting us all in different ways. Everyone has their own concerns and priorities and our priority is you. Your safety is our primary concern and we want to make sure you have as much information as possible to help guide you at this time.
We hope the below may answer some of your questions in relation to Coronavirus (COVID-19), how it may affect your travel plans, and if it were to affect them, how we would make sure you’re looked after at this time.
Foreign office advises against all but non-essential travel overseas.
On the 17th March, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised against all non-essential international travel, initially for a period of 30 days. This advice took effect immediately and includes anyone due to travel from the 17th March to the 16th April 2020 inclusive.
Please rest assured that our whole team is working hard in order to manage the impact of this situation. If you are due to travel on or before 16th April, we will contact you as soon as possible in priority order. If we cannot contact you by phone we will email you.
As a result of this our telephone lines will be extremely busy and we must therefore request your patience whilst we deal with these priorities. We promise we will be in contact with you as soon as possible but, given the volume of bookings to process, this may take a while. Respecting advice on social distancing, please do not visit our offices at this time.
We are no longer accepting bookings for travel before the 17th April. We continue to accept new bookings for travel from the 17th April onwards.
We really appreciate your patience and support during this challenging time.
I am due to travel on or before the 16th April, what are my options?
If you have booked a holiday with Bontour to travel on or before the 16th April:
- You can move your holiday to a date later in the year. There would be no administration fee charged. You would need to pay any difference in cost should the holiday be more or we will refund you the difference should the new holiday cost less.
- If you wish to cancel your trip, in the first instance, please direct your cancellation claim to your travel insurers. We will issue you with a cancellation invoice that you can give to your insurance provider. If you purchased your travel insurance before Coronavirus was an issue, your policy may cover you as you are now unable to travel due to FCO advice.
- If you cannot claim on your travel insurance we encourage you to postpone your trip to a later date in 2020. If we, the organiser, are unable to perform your package as contracted then you may be entitled to some form of refund. We are currently waiting on updated advice from ABTA in relation to your right to a refund. Due to the unprecedented situation and changing FCO advice normal rules may not apply. ABTA is aligning their guidance accordingly and we will reflect their terms.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses with some causing mild illness, such as the common cold, and others more severe disease such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
While travellers should always be vigilant with regard to their health and those around them, PHE (Public Health England) advise that the risk of infection for travellers, unless advised otherwise, is low.
The FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) provides health advice within each country’s travel advice page. Travellers should check the applicable country(s) travel advice before travel. These can be found here.
Should I travel abroad?
It is important to follow FCO and public health authority advice.
Which countries are the FCO advising against travelling to?
Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advice is constantly under review, so that it reflects their latest assessment of risks to British people.
In response to coronavirus measures they are advising against all non-essential international travel, initially for a period of 30 days. This advice takes effect immediately and includes people due to travel from the 17th March to the 16th April 2020 inclusive.
Find out more here.
Do I have to self-isolate when I return from holiday?
States of Guernsey:
Guernsey currently requires self-isolation for all arrivals into the Bailiwick for a period of 14 days whether you are symptomatic or not - this includes Jersey and the UK. Full details can be seen here.
Government of Jersey:
Jersey currently requires self-isolation for all arrivals into the island for a period of 14 days whether you are symptomatic or not - this includes the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the UK. Full details can be seen here.
Help and advice
Should you have questions around Coronavirus or if you develop a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, you should call the helpline on 01534 445566 for Jersey residents or 01481 756938 for Guernsey residents.
I have booked a package holiday with you to depart after the 16th April:
What if I'm unsure about going on my holiday?
The current FCO advice only applies to people due to travel before the 17th April and does not apply to people due to travel beyond this period. If there is no FCO advice against travel to your destination and we can still deliver your holiday (flights, hotel and other contracted elements where applicable), you’re free to make the choice not to go, but there's no obligation on us, the Tour Operator, to issue a refund. Normal cancellation charges will apply, view our terms and conditions here.
It is highly unlikely that you will be able to claim any cancellation charge on your insurance as companies do not normally cover for disinclination to travel but please check the terms and conditions of your policy.
The safety of our customers is our priority, and our decisions will follow British and local Government advice – so you can book your package holiday with confidence, safe in the knowledge that you will be looked after should the FCO travel advice change in the destination you are planning to travel to.
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 us, the Tour Operator, to issue a refund. Normal cancellation charges will apply, view our terms and conditions here.
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.
You are reminded to have appropriate travel insurance and should check your policy to ensure that it is appropriate for your travel itinerary.
Your right to be brought home
If the FCO advises against ‘all but essential travel’ to a country to which you are travelling, then British Nationals should leave the country. In this instance, we would make arrangements to bring our customers home if they have booked a package holiday with us.
What do I need to do if I find myself locked in to a hotel under quarantine?
The obligation under the Package Travel Regulations is for us, the organiser, to provide assistance. Reg 18: Where a traveller is in difficulty, we must give appropriate assistance without undue delay, in particular by — (a) providing appropriate information on health services, local authorities and consular assistance; and (b) assisting you, the traveller, to make distance communications and helping you to find alternative travel arrangements.
How you can protect yourself from Covid-19
Travellers currently in countries that are reporting cases of COVID-19 should follow local public health advice and keep up to date with the latest advice from the FCO and PHE Public Health England - general advice for preventing the spread of respiratory viruses;
- Wash your hands often with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If you feel unwell, stay at home, do not attend work or school.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash hands with soap and water.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment.
- If you are fit and well, with no symptoms, there is no evidence that wearing facemasks as a general prevention measure is helpful. Public Health England advises against using masks outside clinical settings. If you decide to use a mask, remember to you should still follow all the recommended precautions above to minimise risk of transmission.