The coronavirus crisis which has so far claimed the lives of more than 4,000 people worldwide and recorded some 113,000 confirmed cases, has begun to take its toll on travel from Barbados.
Travel agencies across the country are today painting a disconcerting picture with many clients either cancelling cruise bookings and air travel or postponing for future dates.
At least one travel agency has reported that some airlines and cruise companies have waived penalties for cancellations and changing booking dates.
“We are continuing to monitor the situation and we are remaining in close contact with our partners. Some of them have exhibited flexibility for travel up to July 2020 to help give both currently booked clients and potential clients the confidence to travel,” Indar Weir Travel Centre has said.
“For instance, some cruise liners have given a wider window to cancel without penalties and some airlines have waived their cancellation and change fee penalties for the bookings,” an official at Indar Weir Travel Centre told Barbados TODAY.
The agency said it has also taken the initiative to emphasize regional travel with one of its products which gives persons the opportunity to still enjoy the vacation experience without having to travel to badly affected destinations.
“Moreover, we encourage healthy habits for those persons travelling, such as boosting their immune systems with vitamin C, frequently cleaning hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water and avoid touching nose, eyes or mouth.
At another agency people have been postponing travel, but are taking advantage of cruise schedules
Travel Centre said while some people are making bookings to places where there is no sign of the virus, others are transferring cruise dates for next year’s schedule.
“There are those who have postponed their travel for a later date in most instances, and there are those who, particularly with the cruises, where the cruise ships are offering future dates, are transferring for next year,” said a spokesperson for Travel Centre.
The official said that in most of the calls to the agency, people are expressing uncertainty about travelling.
Windsor Travel told Barbados TODAY, bookings are not going well at all.
“We are terribly busy dealing with that issue. They are not going well. There are no new bookings,” said an official.
When contacted, Value Vacations Travel Inc. stated that things were only okay.
“It is kind of slow at the moment, but we are still hoping for the best. We had a few postponements…these were corporate and some individuals who had actually booked in advance,” said the agency, adding the postponements were mainly for air travel.
Xclusive Travel and Services Co. Ltd told Barbados TODAY bookings are down because people are not taking any risks with the virus. [email protected]
Read our ePaper. Fast. Factual. Free.
Sign up and stay up to date with Barbados' FREE latest news.