The World is on lockdown today with a pandemic that promises to claim the lives of our loved ones while putting our way of life on standstill. We are all still trying to come to terms with how sudden our precious lives have taken a dramatic change right in front of us.
We deeply sympathise with those that have lost loved ones or are currently suffering the symptoms of the virus. We also understand the pressure that our partners are currently facing. At BLAS we will work closely with all our partners making sure affected guests are kept informed. The health and safety of our guests and staff is of paramount importance to us during this period of fear and confusion.
We encourage communities around the world to show compassion by ensuring that the elderly and other vulnerable members of our communities are supported during this difficult period. Our aim is to collaborate with all of our trade partners, stay aligned to what the rest of our peers and industry partners are offering all while keeping an eye on advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and keep the pipeline for responsible travel open. Positive thinking with a good sense of humour will help us approach our hardships in a more positive and productive way.
Our partners across the region have updated their cancellation policies based on the current changes that have been brought about by COVID-19. As BLAS we will make sure that the revised changes are forwarded to all our guests who are due to travel with us within the next 60 days. If for some reason you are booked to travel with us and you have not received an updated copy of these terms and conditions please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
OUR WAY FORWARD
We have implemented a three-phased plan to assist our guests as best possible:
- Firstly our focus is on guests in camp or those about to travel;
- Secondly we will focus on our guests who are due to travel in the next 60 days;
- And lastly we will turn our attention to all guests travelling after June 2020.
We believe that our communication to our guests needs to be clear and compassionate in this environment of fear and confusion. We have outlined the broad terms of each phase below and reiterate that within this framework we remain committed to flexibility.
PHASE 1 & 2
Guests in camp
We have sent correspondence to all guests in camp to advise them on global events and government restrictions on travel. If any guest would like to be rerouted back to their country of origin, we will assist and apply a credit for future travel for any days missed on their safari.
Due to the magnitude and complexity of our partner’s footprint we respectfully ask for your assistance to address all bookings in a structured manner based on travel dates. We are subsequently recommending the following timetable and actions:
Next 14 days – Address all guests travelling in April and May (Priority 1)
We will initially and immediately start rescheduling all travel for April and May 2020.
- Move your April/May bookings to travel between 1 October 2020 and April 2021, at no extra cost regardless of seasonality. Additionally our partners are happy to apply free upgrades to ANY Premier, or higher priced camp subject to availability. We recommend you do so as soon as possible to aid our planning processes and ensure you benefit from the upgrade option as this will be on a first come first served basis. Please note that this only applies to bookings that we have received a deposit for, and preference will be given to bookings that are fully paid up.
- Should you not be able to travel during this time frame, then we will extend deferment further into 2021. Any seasonal or annual rate changes will be applicable at the new rates.
Between 1 to 14 April 2020 – address all guests travelling from June onwards (Priority 2)
During the course of April (when we know a little more about the global outlook) we will be better positioned to make informed decisions on all travel from June onwards. We ask for your understanding and patience in standing by until early next month to review these accordingly.
Please note: BLAS normal cancellation terms and conditions will apply to any outright cancellations.
As mentioned previously, I would like to reassure everyone that we will remain flexible on all bookings and table various options and incentives for rescheduling. Obviously with the fluid situation we will be better placed to offer realistic options closer to the time.
Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. Please let us know how we can assist you to ensure the best way forward.
Brighton Tau Muluswela
Chief Executive Officer