A Message about the coronavirus (COVID-19)
Dear Ventures Travelers,
As I’m sure many of you are aware, the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is now affecting travel across the world. Justifiably, some of you have recently begun expressing concerns about upcoming trips with us being affected or canceled. We want to ensure our travelers that we will not proceed with any tour if we deem the health risk of travel too high or any potential interruptions, delays, or disruptions too inconvenient. We of course view the health and safety of not just our clients, but all the citizens of the world, to be paramount, and this will be our primary concern when making decisions about upcoming tours.
So far, a handful of our spring 2020 departures have been affected.
Day Trips have been cancelled through the end of March
March 27 - April 5: Texas - CANCELLED
April 13-22: Costa Rica – Rancho Naturalista – CANCELLED
April 24-26: Carolina Sandhills - CANCELLED
April 26-May 10: Bhutan – POSTPONED to 2021
(check website for new dates)
May 7-18: Italy: Parma and the Po Delta - CANCELLED
All other tours are currently proceeding as planned, yet this could change as the situation progresses. If you are registered for a tour that has been cancelled, we will contact you separately with refund options.
Bearing in mind that this is a situation that’s evolving daily, all listed tours that have reached minimum registration will operate UNLESS:
The situation changes adversely to the point we judge the health risk to our travelers to be above an acceptable level.
The U.S. Department of State issues a Level 4 (highest level) travel advisory for any country, or region within a country, to which we have a departure scheduled.
The government of a country to which we have scheduled a tour institutes a travel ban, mandatory quarantine, or other travel restrictions that preclude our ability to operate that tour.
Our ground agent(s) recommends we cancel.
Ventures Birding Tours remains a small company and we can therefore remain a bit flexible with respect to cancellations and final payment due dates through this difficult and uncertain period. We have amended our cancellation policy for all tours departing between now and September 1, 2020 to as follows:
If we cancel a tour due to one of the above reasons or another unforeseen result of this pandemic, participants will have the option to either receive a full refund (minus a small processing fee), or move their payments to another tour departing in the next 3 years (based on the original tour dates) for no additional fee.
If you choose to cancel a tour that we intend to operate,you may move your registration to another tour departing in the next 2 years. Otherwise, partial refunds may be available depending on the date of cancellation, but keep in mind that we are beholden to the policies of our ground agents and partnering organizations, especially on tours operating outside the United States. For US-based tours we should be able to refund the bulk of your payments.
We will continue to follow the situation closely via a number of sources, from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) to the interactive map managed by John’s Hopkins University, in addition to local knowledge from an array of ground agents that we work with. It is likely that COVID-19 will continue posing a hurdle for all of us in the travel industry for several more months, perhaps longer. Hopefully the situation improves as quickly as possible and we can all get back to doing what we love to do – enjoying fun, small-group tours to the world’s most unique and fascinating natural and cultural areas, free of worry. Until then, we’ll continue to make the most out of the situation and will send out regular updates if there are any further changes to our tours.
We wish everyone good health in the months ahead and we hope to see you again soon.
Simon Thompson and the Ventures Birding family