UPDATED WEDNESDAY 01 APRIL
Response and Policy
The situation and news surrounding the Coronavirus is changing on a daily basis, as are our learnings and understanding of the measures required to slow its spread. As we have seen in China, in Italy and elsewhere in the world, local governments are identifying their own response path - with ours, in the UK, being developed under the guidance of our Chief Medical Officer and scientific analysts.
Whilst our advice for customers is always guided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Sunvil's experienced operations team are also monitoring the news and official advice on Covid-19, and are in regular dialogue with our colleagues on the ground in resort. The health and safety of our customers, staff and local partners is paramount.
For the foreseeable future, Sunvil's telephone lines will open at 09:15 each morning to provide our teams with the opportunity to be briefed on the latest events. This policy will be updated to reflect the evolution of the virus and the response measures introduced to reduce its spread.
We understand that you may have questions concerning your confirmed holiday or proposed trip and have compiled a short Q&A below. Any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on 020 8568 4499.
Remember that in a fast-changing situation like this, we may not have clear answers to every question. But we will always do our best to tell you clearly what we know, and what we don’t know.
Our guidance: FCO travel advice
It has always been a condition of booking that all our travellers have valid insurance, including health insurance, when they travel. This remains as important as ever. You can read about your rights in the Q&A by the Association of British Insurers here.
Sunvil has always followed the travel advice of the UK government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Where issues of illness and infection are concerned, the FCO usually mirrors the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
FCO advice is frequently modified and adapted. To avoid jumping the gun, we wait until much closer to departure, and sometimes as little as 14 days, before following the FCO advice that applies at that time.
Then, if the FCO advises against “all but essential travel” to a particular area, we will respond swiftly and individually to travellers who are about to be imminently affected. If we have travellers in these areas, we make great efforts to move them out. Travellers who have trips which are due to traverse or stay in these areas will be re-routed or have their trips deferred.
1. What happens if my holiday plans are affected?
The situation surrounding the Coronavirus (Covid-19) is fluid, but rest assured that Sunvil’s operations team are keeping abreast of the latest advice. We are not virologists, but we are experts in our field and have tried and tested response measures in place.
On Tuesday 17 March, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued advice against all but non-essential travel for 30 days (until 16 April 2020).
Sunvil made the difficult decision to cancel all departures in April, prior to the FCO notification, and all passengers due to travel during this period have been contacted by our specialist teams.
As of 01 April, we have taken the decision to offer our clients travelling between 01-19 May the opportunity to defer their holidays to a date later in the season or to travel in 2021. Alternatively, a fully-bonded credit note covering the money paid to date will be issued and can be used against a new holiday for 2020 or 2021 when booked before 31 July 2020. Our specialist team will be in touch with all customers affected by 08 April 2020 and our aim is to work with you to find the most suitable resolution.
We have always treated our clients as individuals and this situation is no different.
2. I have a holiday booked with you, what are my options?
We are in a fast-changing situation regarding what is known about the spread of COVID-19 and its effects.
We ask you not to request any changes to your booking until 10 weeks or less before you are due to travel with us, as the circumstances may well change between now and that date.
We suggest you carefully read your travel insurance policy to check it will cover your loss. Please call your insurer if you are not sure. It is unlikely that your travel insurance will cover lost monies for disinclination to travel.
If you wish to cancel your trip earlier than 10 weeks in advance of travel, then please see our standard cancellation terms and conditions.
3. Can I delay paying the balance of my holiday?
Whilst the payment of your holiday on the date stated on our confirmation invoice would be preferred, we appreciate that this is not business as normal and that our clients may feel anxious about parting with this money in these uncertain times.
We have therefore amended our balance due date to four weeks prior to departure for those travelling between 20 May and 14 June.
For clients travelling on 15 June or later, the balance due date remains as per your confirmation invoice. Unfortunately, we have financial obligations to our suppliers which increase as time passes. Hence, we suggest that you:
- Pay your balance on time and travel as planned; or
- Ask us about the possibility of delaying your trip, as explained below; or
- Cancel your trip, accepting you will lose the deposit you have paid us.
4. Can I defer my holiday?
If you wish to defer your trip, then we will do our very best to make this possible for you.
We suggest the best time to consider doing this is between 10 and 8 weeks out i.e. before payment of your balance becomes due.
At this stage, for holidays to Greece transferring to a date later in 2020 and using our regular charter flights, there will be an administration fee plus any difference in the holiday price charged (excluding departures in April, May and June). To transfer your holiday for travel in 2021 we will require a further deposit of £150 per person plus the administration fee (£35 per person where applicable) to be paid on the date the change is implemented - the 2020 holiday will be cancelled and a new booking made for 2021. An amount equivalent to the original deposit paid will appear on the new confirmation invoice as a credit.
Please note that Early Booking Offers applicable to your original holiday cannot be carried across to your new reservation.
For all other holidays (excluding those aforementioned in this policy), and within 8 weeks of travel, we will look at this on a case-by-case basis and will work to make the necessary changes at as little cost as possible. Unfortunately, any airfare losses or supplier administration fees, plus any variation in holiday price due to seasonality, will need to be passed to you. A further deposit will be required once the amended travel plans are in place.
5. What are your cancellation terms?
Our cancellation charges are listed below:
Sunvil and GIC The Villa Collection (excluding Sunvil Latin America).
- 56 days or more before departure: Deposit only
- 55-43 days before departure: 30%
- 42-29 days before departure: 40%
- 28-22 days before departure: 60%
- 21-15 days before departure: 80%
- 14 days or less before departure: 100%
Sunvil Latin America
- 60 days or more before departure: Deposit only
- 59-30 days before departure: 50%
- 29-22 days before departure: 70%
- 21-15 days before departure: 80%
- 14 days or less before departure: 100%
- Amended cancellation terms apply to bookings between 20 May and 14 June and will be advised to those affected.
- We reserve our right to pass on to you any cancellation charges imposed by our suppliers which are in excess of the cancellation charges set out above. In particular, any ‘bought-in flight element’ will be charged at 100% cancellation fees for the flight.
6. The airline has cancelled my flight but my date of departure is outside the FCO guidance window. Where do I stand?
All flight-inclusive holidays offered by Sunvil are bonded by the CAA (ATOL: 808). It is therefore our responsibility to source an alternative flight option for you, where possible. The cost of the alternative flight will not be passed to you. Your rights are as follows:
- accept the alteration
- choose to take an alternative holiday with us (if it is more expensive you must pay the difference, but if it is cheaper we will make an appropriate refund), or
- (in the case of a major alteration - see below) cancelling the holiday and receiving a full refund of the monies paid.
A significant change is:
- A change of UK departure airport except between: 1) The London airports: Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Stansted, London City and Southend; 2) The South Coast airport: Southampton, Bournemouth and Exeter; 3) The South Western airports: Cardiff and Bristol; 4) The Midlands airports: Birmingham, East Midlands and Doncaster Sheffield; 5) The Northern airports: Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds Bradford; 6) The North Eastern airports: Newcastle and Teeside; 7) The Scottish airports: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Prestwick, Aberdeen.
- A change of outward departure time or overall length of arrangements by more than 12 hours
Please note that this is as per our Booking Conditions.
7. What can I do?
Travellers are advised to read the Foreign and 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. You may also wish to familiarise yourself with the latest advice from the World Health Organisation.
We repeat our recommendation not to take overhasty action to cancel if your holiday is some way off - far better to wait until shortly before the final balance is due to be paid (c. 10 weeks before departure) and then speak to us if you have concerns, as the situation is fast changing. Our cancellation charges (other than loss of deposit) do not apply until this point so the cost of delaying your decision before then is zero.
8. What happens if I am ill and cannot travel?
You should contact your travel insurance provider to claim a refund for the monies paid to Sunvil. Cancellations should be made in writing.
Please read your policy and call your insurer if you are not sure – and please also keep us informed of the situation if your trip is imminent.
9. What are the latest travel recommendations for those over 70 years of age?
ABTA’s guidance regarding customers over 70 years of age, and/or with a medical condition, is that the Government advice against travel relates to the capacity of the individual to travel, not to the deliverability of the arrangements, and therefore does not give rise to a right to refund.
10. Can I still book a holiday with you?
Yes. Sunvil's country specialists are on the end of the phone to help design your perfect break. You can even save up to 40% on selected Greece holidays and our 2021 trips are now on sale.
Note: For the vast majority of Sunvil's destinations, tourism is a key contributor to the local economy. Our approach to holidays places you in lesser-known areas where you will eat, socialise and relax alongside those who live and work there, thus ensuring that your holiday spend spreads along the local supply chain. A reduction in visitor numbers will inevitably have significant consequences to businesses and therefore we are looking to postpone the holidays of our guests wherever possible, rather than cancelling in the first instance.