We are closely monitoring the current situation regarding COVID-19 and the impact it has on our customers and their upcoming trips. Safety on tours is our number one priority and we will adapt and cancel our tours if we believe safety standards are not met.
Our Tour Leaders are being given extra training and will be taking extra precautions on our tours to minimize any spread of the virus. They will be updated with any safety measures as reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Public Health England (PHE), The UK National Health Service (NHS) and the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
No, you should not be worried about booking on a tour. If we were to cancel your tour, you would be given the option of moving to a later tour or receiving a full refund. We will also provide you with a cancellation letter to help claim money for flights, visas etc. on your travel insurance.
If our tour is cancelled or the UK FCO changes their travel advice to a country you were planning to visit then your insurance should cover you for money you have paid out to companies outside of Lupine (airlines etc). If you have purchased your insurance since the outbreak then please check the policy carefully to ensure there are no exclusions related to COVID-19.
We are tracking the situation in each of our destinations daily and we receive regular updates from our partners and various other sources related to COVID-19. If at any point we feel our clients would be put at heightened risk of infection by taking one of our tours, we would cancel the tour. For tours with longer routes taking in several countries then we may also offer the option of altering the route to avoid problem areas.
We advise to check your flights regularly as many flights are changing their schedules at the moment. We will arrange additional transfers for any flights changed. If your flights are cancelled due to new restrictions on your nationality then your airline will refund you and we can transfer you to a later tour of your choice or refund you.
If you do not want to travel on a tour that you have already booked on, please email us to discuss the situation. For tours more than 3 months in the future then it is too early to make any decision on these tours until the situation is more clear, so cancellations will be subject to our standard terms and conditions.
If the tour is coming up sooner then will do our best to be as flexible as possible but please note that in most cases we pay our suppliers in advance so full refunds will generally not be possible and will be subject to our standard terms and conditions. If the country in question later becomes significantly affected by COVID-19 or the UK FCO change their travel advice then we will then be able to offer full refunds.
At the time of writing (12/3/20) all our North Korea tours to date have been cancelled as well as our Turkmenistan Nawruz tour due to border restrictions. We have also cancelled our Iran April tour due to safety concerns. At the moment we are monitoring the situation in the other countries that we have tours to during March, April and May.
The travel industry is probably affected by this outbreak more than any other industry. International tour operators and travel agents are suffering but most of all, the local guides, hotels, restaurants and transport providers. In particular in some of the destinations that we have partnerships with, the people we deal with completely rely on the money that tourism brings in.
We have no idea unfortunately! Things are changing rapidly and it’s now impossible to give any kind of estimate on the situation.
Although we hope things will improve soon we understand however that many may be wary of booking trips for 2020 until the situation is more clear. To take this into account, we will soon be adding more 2021 tour dates and destinations.