Our Coronavirus Position Regularly Updated

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Our MOST IMPORTANT Coronavirus Update PUBLISHED 27/03/20

Before we get into more detail, I want to give my most heartfelt thanks to all of our amazing guests – so many of you have got in touch with kind words of support and encouragement as the unprecedented impact of Coronavirus continues to sweep the globe. You guys are the reason I launched Singletrack Safari a decade ago, and your belief in us and your positivity has staggered me – thanks so, so much to every single person who is helping us stay strong each and every day.

For our very small team here at Singletrack Safari the current situation is crushingly upsetting, and creates huge amounts of uncertainty in our lives as a guiding team – so reading your supportive words, messages and emails is genuinely helping keep a smile on our faces in these really tough times.

We are deeply thankful to you all that not a single person booked for a trip this summer has contacted us with anything other than positive wishes and messages. No-one has cancelled, no-one has complained, and everyone has been so staggeringly understanding of what an incredibly difficult situation this has placed our company in.

Therefore, as you will see, we are going to make some options available to you in order to support you, our guests. Life is currently very tough, without the added stress of losing your holiday – so anything we can do to help you a bit seems the least we can do. We are all in this together, so we want to show how much we truly appreciate that you have chosen to book or enquire with us.

Singletrack Safari genuinely is a very small, rider-owned company – in fact, away from the riding season we operate as a sole-trader, self-employed business. We may have a great presence online, but we are a tiny company in reality! During the season we have our team of guides on board too – but the stresses which the outbreak has placed upon all our team members as we approach a summer of uncertainty is absolutely immense. As you can probably imagine we are very worried about our ability to simply put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads right now. As I have said before, we will survive, but the short-term future could be very tough for us, in all honesty. Fortunately, it is the small nature of our company that means we should be able to survive this storm, as we have very small fixed overheads in comparison to large holiday companies.

As a self-employed business owner, I am having to be incredibly cautious with what steps and decisions we make as we move towards a very uncertain summer. Simply put, without Singletrack Safari I have no income – and, having spent the last 10 years of my life building this business into one of the best-loved MTB holiday companies in Europe, I am determined that we will survive these challenges, and continue to ride epic, dusty trails with you all for many years into the future.

I like to think that we have a very strong code of ethics as a company, which we always try to reflect at every stage of your booking; from the very first enquiry to the last day of riding we work incredibly hard to give you the best, most professional and supportive service in the MTB holiday industry. And we want to continue to do so as we all fight to overcome this unprecedented global event.

Governments across the planet are continually increasing the measures which we must all take in order to control the spread of the virus, to reduce the impact on healthcare systems and to pave a way for a return to normality at a point sooner rather than later in the future. However, we all continue to play a guessing game as to how quickly the tide will begin to turn. There are some indications of steps back towards pre-viral outbreak life in China and other early-infected regions – these will no doubt pave the way for global planning as this experimentation progresses. However here in Europe we are still very much experiencing the worst of the turmoil, disruption and complication of our day-to-day lives.

This week the UK government followed the lead of much of mainland Europe, and enforced a full lockdown on day-to-day life, with a few concessions to allow citizens to get essential supplies and basic exercise. It cannot be long before other countries whose infection rates still continue to wildly escalate impose even more stringent rules.

We recognise that we are fortunate enough to ride with guests from all over the planet every year – and whilst many of our guests are from the UK, we also have a large percentage of bookings from all over the World. Whilst Europe is heading into the next phases of controlling the pandemic, other countries and regions are at different stages. As a result, we now need to take an adaptive approach so that we ensure our guests have some options in order to make tough decisions on the summer ahead.

As I have said from the outset, it remains my great hope that you will be able to travel to us in Andorra for the holiday which you have booked – but it now seems very probable that even if some countries lift travel limitations before your trip dates, others may be at other stages of outbreak control. Basically, none of us know what the next few weeks and months hold.

As a result, we are taking the following steps, effective immediately:

  • Option 1- you can now defer your trip to an alternative week free of charge. You can amend to any available week later in 2020, or 2021. Normally we are not able to defer trips across different years – but these are exceptional circumstances, so we are going to make this possible in order to allow you to put your holiday on hold until these difficult times are behind us.
    – If you want you want to defer to later in 2020, we need to know this by April 10th If your chosen new 2020 date also looks to be affected, you will still be able to defer to 2021 later.
    – If you want to defer to 2021, we need you to let us know by April 10th, but you do not need to confirm the exact date at this stage
  • Option 2 – If you want to entirely cancel your booking, we are going to change our deposit refund rules. Instead of forfeiting your entire deposit we will offer you a 50% refund of the amount paid.
    This means that most people will lose only £35 by cancelling, or far less in many cases. This is to show our determination to help reduce your financial difficulties in these challenging times, and we also will issue official cancellation invoices to help support you with any claim on your insurance for other losses. At this stage all guests have paid only a 20% deposit – as balances are payable 6 weeks before your due arrival date. Therefore, if you decide to cancel and take advantage of this offer, we need you to do so by April 17th at the very latest.
  • If you want to defer your trip to a new date, or take the cancellation offer, we need to know by the deadlines above. We will issue an official amendment invoice & booking agreement for you to sign. Amendments will be made on a first come, first-served basis –please remember that availability is also affected by existing bookings, which we have to honour, of course. In other words, please tell us EXTREMELY urgently – ideally immediately – if you would like to defer your trip to a new date, as this is absolutely crucial for planning and booking purposes.
  • We will not charge our normal £75 booking amendment fee to swap to an alternative week. This fee will be waived for all amendments to bookings to make your decision easier.
  • We are going to freeze the price of your booking if you defer to later in 2020. Therefore, if there is a price difference between the week you have booked and the one you wish to defer to, we will not make any additional charges. We want to show our appreciation for your support, so we are going to freeze the price of your booking to protect you, so we all know where we stand clearly.
  • We are also going to protect/freeze your price if you choose you defer to 2021. If our costs do not increase, we guarantee will not make any additional charges to you. Furthermore, if our suppliers are forced to increase their prices next year as result of the global situation, we will guarantee that your booking price will not rise unless absolutely necessary, & any increase is capped at a 10% maximum.
  • All of these options and steps also apply to new bookings too – so if you are tempted to book, but you are unsure what the future holds, you can do so safely knowing that you have flexibility in an ever-changing situation.

As I am sure you can see, we are working incredibly hard to relieve some of the pressure of this situation for our guests, and we are also trying to make sure that no-one loses out unnecessarily, whilst also making sure Singletrack Safari can continue to run amazing trips in the future!

 

WHAT TO DO NOW – ALL bookings require an urgent response please.

  • Decide if you want to defer or cancel your booking, or take no action
  • Let us know immediately what you have decided
  • If you want to defer to summer 2021 please confirm by 10/04/20. We do not need to know a specific date at this stage, unless you have one in mind.
  • If you want to defer to later in 2020 please confirm by 10/04/20 & we will discuss your new date. If later this year new dates also look to be affected, you can still defer to 2021.
  • If you decide to cancel entirely, please contact us by 17/04/20 and we will prepare an official cancellation invoice and arrange the 50% refund of your deposit.
  • If you choose to defer, we will immediately issue new booking and amendment paperwork


Once again, I really want to let every one of our guests know how much we appreciate your support in these times – and we want to continue to show you that we will look after you throughout this crisis however we possibly can
. Hopefully these options will give you some hope for the future, release a few worries from your day-to-day life at the moment, and support you in staying safe and healthy. Many airlines are now offering free or cheap ways of amending flight bookings too – so you can now easily ensure you have a great trip in your future, whilst removing doubt, worry and reducing your risks. For sure this will be the most challenging year in the history of Singletrack Safari – we want to express our deep gratitude that you guys are helping us survive it safely too.

Stay calm, stay positive and remember that our amazing mountains and trails will still be there once we have all got through this. You don’t need to miss out, but we will all need to work together, make some sacrifices, be understanding, and continue to fight until we put these challenging times behind us and can get back to sharing our love and passion for riding our bikes together again.

Above all, please keep healthy and happy – those trails are going to feel all the more well-earned once this is all over!

Once again, my heartfelt thanks,

Martin

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 17/03/20
We now intend to update this page of our website on a regular basis with the latest updates on our position – it will be kept updated as we learn more, or as the situation evolves

As you can probably imagine things are very confusing, concerning and ever-changing for all of us at the moment. We are constantly monitoring the news and governmental positions both at home and abroad – but, as the news events of the past few days have shown us, things can change hugely and suddenly.

We are trying very hard to remain calm and positive – as this pandemic clearly has enormous and possibly catastrophic implications for the entire travel industry. We are in the fortunate position of actually being a very small company (during the off-season we are just two people, one of whom is part-time!) so we don’t have huge overheads to maintain at the moment, and are therefore not at immediate financial risk, unlike many large travel companies. Even if we have an incredibly tough year we will continue with Singletrack Safari beyond 2020 and into the future –  but the Covid 19 situation could have a huge impact on all of us around the world.

Today (17/03/20) the UK Foreign Office has finally made some solid decisions, and provided an official position on international travel; one that should allow people to claim on travel insurance if they are likely to lose out https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-51615412 However, as it stands, this is only really going to be recognised as relevant to the next few weeks, as the situation will no doubt change. Currently all non-essential travel is not advised – they will review this position again shortly though, no doubt. Please remember that travel insurance policies are dependant upon these sorts of statements, so it is worth remaining aware of what your travel insurance policy covers. However, it seems that most policies will cover any trips booked prior to last week, when Coronavirus was first categorised as a “known event”. There is a lot of inaccurate information circulating around the topic of travel insurance at the moment – please check the facts with your own policy provider. Although we fully intend to operate staying aware of the essentials of your travel policy cover is clearly very sensible at the moment.

Currently the Andorran, French and Spanish borders are temporarily closed for all but essential travel – again, this is being described as a temporary measure. We will continue to monitor the situation and update this page.

As it stands we are continuing to work towards our season happening as planned – but the problem is that it’s impossible to know what is happening next week, and even less so regarding a specific point in several months’ time. As a company we cannot afford to *not* operate – so we are not cancelling any trips, but we have only the same information as everyone else about precisely what the future holds. We have to hope that the current non-travel measures are short-term, and can be safely reversed shortly so that borders reopen, and tourism will once again be will be allowed – letting people travel to Andorra as normal once the season starts in early June. So long as you can get there we have every intention of being ready and waiting to meet you!

Remember that there genuinely is positive news out there  – but it is not being reported very clearly amongst the mass panic being caused by our UK news and media. For example, the number of new cases being reported in China is now reportedly declining, and therefore appears to have peaked – so there is still plenty of cause for hope. If you are feeling worried about Coronavirus you might find this article interesting https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-ten-reasons-why-you-ought-not-to-panic-132941

We are just as desperate as everyone else is to know what the future holds – but all we can really do is remain positive, and continue as normal as best we can. Although this is now going to be an exceptionally tough year for our business Singletrack Safari will make it out of the other side, I am absolutely certain.  Please stay healthy, stay positive yet mindful, and hopefully we will start to progress back towards normality before the season is due to begin.

Martin, Director

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 11/03/20
Here is why there’s no reason to let Coronavirus worry you when booking with Singletrack Safari…and why you won’t lose out if you were forced to cancel.
 
We have been asked a few questions about our policy on Coronavirus, and whether we plan to let this affect our trips in Andorra….the short answer is a resounding NO!
 
We are all ready for the season ahead; we have our new guiding team in place, we have a lot of bookings and have no reason to expect any issues with running our trips.
 
But what happens should you have to cancel? Here is a quick explanation to reassure you that in reality you can book a trip with us without any real cause for concern.
 
Our policy is very straightforward – and is also very clearly outlined in great detail in our Terms and Conditions, which you receive in your booking pack. We have always provided a full, written set of Terms, as very few MTB holiday actually bother – which we think is unprofessional – but here at StS we have always preferred to do things the right way!
 
Simply put, our policies are absolutely in line with all other high quality, legitimate holiday operators – so if WE cancel you get a full refund.
 
As with any holiday company we have also always strongly recommended that you have personal travel insurance in place, in case of a cancellation from your side. This is not specifically due to the current situation, as it should equally cover you if you had to cancel for most other reasons – every year we have one or two guests who unfortunately have to cancel, due to injury, sickness, changes in work, family problems etc.
 
We insist that you have accident insurance as a bare minimum for our trips, but most good policies cover you for cancellation and curtailment too. Please check with your insurance provider/ policy for the full details – but no decent travel insurance policy should leave you without cover if you were unable to travel for any reason. Our Terms and Conditions also explain our sliding scale of rebates – these are based on how close to arrival date your cancellation occurs. Your Travel Insurance may request an official cancellation invoice – which we are happy to provide too.
 
We have no plans to cancel any trips – as of 11/03/20 Andorra still only has ONE case – and we are still getting a good, steady flow of bookings coming in, so most people seem to be taking things very sensibly.
 
We will, of course, make some reasonable allowances to ensure your health – but in all seriousness there’s no reason for us to expect that the situation will prevent anything from happening as usual. Andorra is a tourism-driven economy, and we, like all businesses in the field have to proceed as normal without panicking or over-reacting unnecessarily.
 
If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to talk to us – but we are very much looking forward to introducing you to our sunny, dusty, hot trails this summer!

"I travelled around the world for my trip..and it was absolutely worth it. Treat yourself - Do it!!"

Cam Empson

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