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DESTINATIONS


back out a


tour to Italy, Greece or the UK wouldn’t normally cause much of a stir in a sector where operators take guests to the farthest-flung, least-travelled


regions of the world on a regular basis. But when it’s the first departure in months, the first chance to show their Covid-19 safety protocols in practice and the first opportunity to remind customers of the joys of travelling again, it’s very much a cause for celebration. It has been heartening to see the likes of Riviera


Travel, Newmarket Holidays, G Adventures, Intrepid Travel and Explore resuming departures for the first time in five months. Yet even while trips were on pause, escorted touring operators weren’t – they’ve been busily reshaping tours and revamping booking terms to help you give customers the confidence to book again.


WHAT’S NEW ON TOUR While the touring experience remains as enticing as ever, there are a few small tweaks – some more apparent than others – to make sure tours operate within new guidelines. On Cosmos and Globus trips, that means health screening on arrival, the end of seat rotation on coaches with a guarantee you’ll sit only


travelweekly.co.uk WHAT’S NEW | ESCORTED TOURS


with members of your party – meaning solo travellers will have a free seat next to them – plus queue jumps at attractions to avoid crowding. Sister companies Trafalgar, Costsaver, Insight


Vacations and Luxury Gold have brought in ‘wellbeing directors’ on every trip of 20 or more guests, to ensure new safety and hygiene measures are delivered, freeing the tour leader to focus on guests. Business development director Rachel Coffey says: “Travelling with a guided operator can provide more reassurance than travelling independently as we can ensure every element of the holiday experience – from hotels to transport, restaurants to attractions – adheres to our strict protocols. We have done the due diligence and removed the confusion so guests can concentrate on having a great holiday.” Group size can be one of the biggest sticking points, so many operators have limited capacity – for Insight, departures of 24 guests rather than the usual 40 are being offered on every Europe trip; for Latin Routes, groups are limited to 16; and for On The Go Tours, signature small-group tours have been reduced from 24 to 20. G Adventures has introduced a Travel with ²


17 SEPTEMBER 2020


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