Trend on Travel: Egypt holidaymakers deserve better

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Brian Yare
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Trend on Travel: Egypt holidaymakers deserve better

Post by Brian Yare »

I don't think that this article in the Travel section of the Daily Telegraph today will help tourism to Egypt. The author wants to make it easier to cancel or change existing bookings.
With the Foreign Office refusing to advise against travel to the Red Sea resorts, tour operators should be more flexible, argues Nick Trend.

Should tour operators be allowing customers to cancel or change their holidays to Egypt’s Red Sea resorts? Despite the appalling violence and tensions in many parts of the country, only those booked to destinations such as Cairo, Luxor and the Nile - where the Foreign Office is advising against travel - are getting refunds. Most holidaymakers who are due to depart for the Red Sea resorts currently have no option but to go, or lose their money. Tour operators, including Thomson, Thomas Cook and Kuoni, are upholding their booking conditions and citing Foreign Office advice that the resorts are safe.

They are probably on secure legal ground. But should the travel industry be relying on such technicalities in this case? It is clear that many people are anxious about travelling given the current circumstances. Most Telegraph readers (73 per cent according to our recent poll) wouldn’t consider visiting the Red Sea at the moment - not even to the apparently peaceful, isolated and heavily guarded enclaves at Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh. This is a country in bitter and violent turmoil. It is not a place where it feels right to relax in the sun. Who wants a holiday protected by military guards?

It is all very well for tour operators to refer to Foreign Office advice, but the Foreign Office has a difficult line to tread. British travellers have traditionally been robust about their travel plans - we have a reputation for resilience in the face of terrorist threats; for being the last to abandon and the first to return to countries like Egypt when they have suffered in the past. If the Foreign Office does issue “do not travel” advice, that effectively means that those of us who do still want to travel can’t - because the vast majority of travel insurers will suspend cover as a result.

But I wonder if tour operators are being a little too bullish in their response to the situation. Especially the big ones like Thomson, Thomas Cook and Kuoni. They have businesses to run, but even if they feel disinclined to offer refunds, they have the flexibility to offer alternative destinations, or allow customers to postpone their trips. After all, they must be on pretty strong ground when it comes to negotiating rates with Red Sea hoteliers at the moment.

Look at it this way. In recent years, as more and more of us have started to travel independently, package-tour operators have been vocal in trying to win us back, pointing out the advantages of booking with them. Your money is safe, and you will be well looked after, they say. When the biggest operators force holidaymakers either to cancel without refund or travel somewhere they don’t really want to go, they do nothing to enhance their reputation for customer care.

Egypt trips: your rights

Technically, when you book a package holiday, you are bound by the booking conditions. These set conditions for cancellation, which normally require you to forfeit your deposit, or the full balance, if you have already paid it, if you cancel. Travel insurance will cover the costs of cancellation for specific reasons, such as ill health, but not if you are simply nervous about travelling.

If you have booked an Egyptian holiday several months ahead and already paid a deposit, you will probably have to hold tight and see if the situation settles down, or if the Foreign Office changes its advice.

There is one possible legal argument for those who decide they want to cancel. If you have booked an operator’s excursion to say, St Catherine’s Monastery, as part of your package - you could argue that there had been a material change to the promised holiday since all excursions outside the resorts are currently suspended. If you can successfully argue that the excursion was a primary reason that you booked your holiday, you may be able to get a significant proportion of the holiday cost back. The problem is that the operator already has your money. So you would probably have to argue your case in court, and face a potentially long battle. ... etter.html

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Re: Trend on Travel: Egypt holidaymakers deserve better

Post by pdmlynek »

This is very simple. It is a matter of free market.

The tour operators offer certain services with the knowledge that a customer is not able to back out. The customer knows that the he is not able to back out. These services are priced accordingly.

If the terms of the contract are changed, for example by making it easy for a customer to back out a month, a week, or a day before the trip, then it gives more options to the customers, and puts the tour operator in a disadvantageous position. Hence, these services will be priced higher.

In other words, in order for a tour operator to provide a customer a service of being able to cancel as the customer wishes, the tour operator would need some sort of premium. Either ante-facto or post-facto.

If customer wishes to have the terms of the contract to be more favourable to the customer, than they need to negotiate the contract accordingly, and either be prepared to pay more, or go to another vendor who provides such a service, or go without.

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Re: Trend on Travel: Egypt holidaymakers deserve better

Post by LovelyLadyLux »

Couldn't have said it better PdMlynek. Exactamundo!

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Re: Trend on Travel: Egypt holidaymakers deserve better

Post by Dusak »

The easiest way to back out and get your money back is to kill a close relative that no one likes about four weeks before the departure date then supply the death certificate. :dv
Life is your's to do with as you wish- do not let other's try to control it for you. Count Dusak- 1345.

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