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There is no avoiding the news about the heatwave and fires affecting southern Europe. Although temperatures of around 40 degrees during summer heatwaves are not unusual in the Eastern Mediterranean and we can reassure you that Sunvil and GIC The Villa Collection remain on hand to provide advice and up-to-date information to you, and to assist as needed.

This week, our depth of experience and destination knowledge has ensured that clients on Corfu have been able to enjoy their long-awaited holiday, despite fires impacting the northeast coast of the island. We have been with them at every step of the way... this is what we do; it is part of our promise to you and integral to our approach to holidays.

Writing in The Times this week, Rory Boland explains why it's so important to ensure that any holiday you book, is through a reliable and trustworthy tour operator. Choose a company with experienced and dedicated travel professionals, who will guide you through any questions or concerns you may have. It is important that you receive the very latest information from the tour operator, including the company's local representatives in resort, when travelling to a destination that is affected with any potential disruptions to your holiday, such as wildfires. We couldn't agree more!

Our promise to you Our promise to you

One lesson of Rhodes is beware who you book with - By Rory Boland

Last weekend, as pictures of frightened locals and tourists escaping raging wildfires in parts of Greece emerged, the managing director of one mid-sized tour operator was already on a plane in the opposite direction to ensure the guests in its care were safe and looked after by local teams.

Meanwhile, customers of Ryanair who wanted to know if they should still fly into an island in the middle of a crisis were essentially asked: what crisis? Ryanair curtly told customers: “Flights to/from Rhodes and Corfu are operating as normal and unaffected by the forest fires.”

Similarly, as nearly 19,000 people were evacuated from southeast Rhodes, some holiday companies continued to tell holidaymakers it was fine to fly. What that meant for some was arriving to find they would need emergency accommodation on an island that had none. In many cases, kind locals stepped in to help with food, water, even beds. They should bill the tour operators directly.

Holiday companies and airlines are used to dealing with large-scale disruption like this — think volcanic ash clouds and Covid travel corridors. But the way they handle crises varies greatly. Some invest huge amounts of money in customer care, while others essentially have a fly ’em and forget policy. When something goes wrong, they are uncontactable and unrepentant.

Legally, there was and is nothing to prevent airlines and holiday companies from taking more holidaymakers to Rhodes this week.

The Foreign Office, which was at first missing in action, didn’t issue a travel warning. Responsible tour operators then took matters into their own hands and cancelled trips — the cost of which they will need to bear. But others will ship more people out this week, or potentially bank their cash if customers make the sensible decision to cancel.

We can have a somewhat warped idea of holiday companies and airlines being warm, jolly organisations because they send us out for our happiest moments of the year. We don’t think about them in the same way we do our banks or broadband providers, but we should.

For many online travel agents and some airlines, customers are simply a number in their annual report. So when a crisis hits, customer care comes second to customer money.

They will refuse amendments and refunds, even in the most extraordinary of circumstances.

This is why the most important decision you’ll make when you book your next holiday is who you book with. Some companies will fly their MD over to make sure you get home if the worst happens; others will fly you into the middle of a natural disaster with nowhere to stay.

 

Rory Boland, The Times

With Sunvil

Affected clients booked with Sunvil and GIC The Villa Collection were offered:

√ The opportunity to amend their holiday to a new destination or departure date

√ Full refund, if they chose not to proceed with their holiday or take one of the aforementioned options

√ On the ground updates from our Managing Director and in resort representatives

√ Regular contact by our operations team and in resort representatives

√ Support from a 24/7 duty office

√ Twice daily statements on the fire and the areas affected

Here is just a selection of comments from our guests who travelled to Corfu earlier this week.

“We arrived yesterday for our stay in Villa Ianthi Barbati and I cannot express in words how wonderful the team at Sunvil and GIC The Villa Collection and of course our travel agent Off Broadway Travel are!!! These people are fantastic at what they do, EXTREMELY accommodating, professional, helpful, knowledgeable and all round fantastic people!!! So happy we chose our holiday with them all involved, couldn’t be in better hands. Thank you all so much! Katie the Sunvil representative in Corfu is also lovely and you’ll feel very welcome in her hands.”

“I feel everybody needs to be made aware of what a fantastic company you are. Even before getting here you answered my DM’s within minutes!! And a huge thank you to Chris Wright, Sunvil's Managing Director, who I believed would have offered us his villa before arriving here and the fires calming down, it looked gorgeous however, in the end there was no need to move us. From now on I shall recommend all companies involved to everyone I know planning a holiday.”

“Well done Sunvil - exceptional customer service”

“Sunvil are such a brilliant Travel Company.”

If you have a holiday booked to any of our destinations that are currently experiencing wildfires, or are planning a trip in the coming weeks, and have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact our team - we're with you all the way!

Call us on 020 8568 4499 or speak to us on our Live Chat service via our website. Follow us on Facebook to receive the latest news and updates.

The Sunvil Family

By The Sunvil Family

27th July 2023



The Sunvil Family
The Sunvil Family
The Sunvil Family

Sunvil's holidays are designed by passionate travellers just like you. Our reservations experts and product teams, many of whom have been with us for many years, are passionate about our destinations and, through their personal, first-hand knowledge can answer any questions that you may have. They are well qualified to advise and recommend, based on your own holiday criteria. We can point you to those special, little-known places, some not found even in guidebooks.

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774
  • Marketing: 020 8758 4731

Required Information

* Mandatory Information
Title *
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Alternative telephone number
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Confirm email address
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If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

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