Coronavirus NEW cancellation policy

The new regulation following the pandemic declaration on tourist cancellations allows tourist companies (ferries, flights, hotels, boat charters and other related services) to reimburse customers with vouchers valid for 18 months for reservations canceled due to the Covid pandemic -19.
This measure guarantees that tourists will not lose their deposits and will have the possibility to rebook another holiday in a future date up to a minimum of 18 months (October 2021) or to extend the validity in exceptional cases until October 2022.
This legislation takes into account the lack of insurance coverage in the event of a declared pandemic for the organizers of tourism services, a lack of a European law that guarantees liquidity for boat owners, brokers, travel agencies, hotels, airlines and ferry companies in the attempt to mitigate the effects of mass travel canceled due to the crisis.
18-month voucher covers individual bookings or bookings for the travel packages. It concerns cancellations from both sides; from tourist supplier or customer of any nationality due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in the period from 25 February 2020 to 30 September 2020.
Tourism businesses are required to inform customers of the voucher details within 30 days of the booking cancellation date. Customer who wishes to change the travel date because unable to make the trip is required to inform the tourist service provider within 30 days of the departure date.
The value of each voucher must be equal to the amount paid in advance by the customer at the time of booking confirmation. The tourism company is obliged to offer the customer the possibility of using the voucher for the same or similar service or even another service where possible to the one originally paid for.

What this mean in semple terms?

Every day we receive e-mails from worried customers (which is absolutely normal) and with this post I will try to explain (in non-formal language) what is going on in travel and specific nautical industry.

Many of our customers chartered several thousand euros yachts with the departure in the 2020 summer season. Due to the situation of the Corona Virus and the fact that the whole world is blocked, nobody knows what will happen in the  months.
The biggest charter companies, yacht associations and even chambers of tourism and commerce have all come to the same point!
So basically the new cancellation terms are:

  • Wait at least 14 days or 1 month before the departure date
  • If the situation of Corona Virus is clear in the country where the yacht is located and in the customer’s country of origin, the cruise should normally take place on the booked date.
  • If the problem persists, the customer can move the date to another date this year or the 2021 season

Everything clear up to this point.
However, I think it is extremely important to explain not only the NEW TERMS, but also why these terms have been put in place.

All agencies and boat owners have customer satisfaction as their main rule. Especially in nautical sector we try to meet our guest where we can and where possible, often passing beyond the strict rules signed by the contract.
And in this case – even if from the first point of view it doesn’t seem so, we are all working to ensure that we protect the customer in this unique situation.

Why is this point so important and what are we risking?

So, let’s take a boat owner in detail to better understand. Each season he makes an average of 20 charters, for an average price of € 12,000 per week.
For this year, he has already booked 12 weeks and has taken around € 80,000 of deposits from customers (through agencies or brokers). Being a successful owner, he knows how important it is to have a good crew. So his crew takes the salary all year long. In addition to the cost of the crew, there are also the costs of the marina and dry dock. There is the annual maintenance that must be done and also this year in view of a good season has made changes, invested and made improvements on the boat. He has already booked and paid for the most requested marinas and the place at the port for the season. And then the Corona happens!

Customers are worried, so all customers are now requesting these € 80,000 deposit payments back.
The owner no longer has this money (at least not the full amount.) Broker will request the refund in behalf of the customers, the owner could possibly repay back 5 groups, go bankrupt and leave the other groups “with nothing.”

And this has been considered by ALL OWNERS. If it were possible they would be willing to reimburse, which is “due to the above mentioned fact” impossible. So the agencies are more or less in the same situation.

To be clear, nobody likes this scenario. Gulet owners will have a terrible season. Agencies and brokers will have a terrible season. The client will have a lot of problems with group reprogramming, flights etc. However:

  • Most owners will survive the season and be able to continue their business
  • Most agencies will also survive the season and be able to provide support later on
  • The customer will not lose deposit payments and will cruise in the future or to be positive as planned this summer.

Why most and not all?

Because some owners had problems even before the Corona situation happened and they will go bankrupt anyway. The same goes for some agencies in the sector (hoping that they have transferred the payments to the real owner so it will still be possible for the customer to use them).

When it comes to our agency we have always been working only with legitimate owners and we expect nobody to have serious problems. Even if this happens for a couple of groups, our agency will be able to cover the bankruptcy by offering the customer another boat of the same or higher category. For our groups, we can guarantee 99.9% that the payment of deposits is secure.

On the other hand, we can in maximum transparency put the customer in direct contact with the owner of the boat. This is to have further confirmation and security in the hypothesis that the agency does not survive.

Postpone the holiday to 2021 or even later

Nobody is happy about it. But in the end everyone will have their vacation. And it will be spectacular.
If all people ask for a refund, there is a very legitimate possibility of losing the holidays and the payment because only a few can be refunded in good faith. (in the absence of government interventions ) And leave the others with nothing.
The entire boating industry is currently sharing the same opinion – no exceptions.

We understand that some customers have difficulty handling this decision and the reasons can be very legitimate. For this we will try to evaluate the best possible solution and meet the needs as always, realizing that it will be extremely difficult to think of solutions that will have to work for everyone. We are here for this.
I hope I have explained a little better why the whole nautical sector is clear on this topic to protect the customer and save the nautical industry.

Thanks for your understanding and patience and we look forward to seeing you soon on board.