Signs of Spring
For those of us who love to travel, spring in the northern hemisphere is a time of great anticipation. That is especially true this year, as we hopefully approach the beginning of the end of what has felt like a very, very long winter, one that has stretched well over an entire year.
At long last, we are starting to see the first green shoots of people’s interest and need in taking a holiday again, when it is the right and responsible time to do so. This brings us both joy and caution. The joy, of course, comes from us all having been pent up for so long – we are anxious to get out and rediscover the world too. The caution is there as we continue to track developments around this pandemic very closely because your wellbeing is – and always will be – our top priority.
This blend of excitement and concern is what we are hearing from travelers who call in to TTC’s call centers and/or in other communications with our brands. We are seeing a significant increase in inquiries in some countries, both from past travelers and those new to TTC, all of whom we warmly welcome.
As more and more people get vaccinated (in those countries where the vaccine rollout is well established), we are hearing from these travelers and their determined intentions to go on vacation, as soon as possible. They have numerous, varied questions and we are answering and allaying them as best we can, with the ongoing uncertainty and confusion which exists about certain destinations, especially in parts of Europe.
Please be aware that, to better service your needs and questions, we have recently implemented a new communications system, allowing you to reach us in the most convenient way you prefer – whether by phone, by SMS or by chat, so we can provide you with the timely information you need. We have also introduced on all of our brands’ websites, the latest answers to your current, Frequently Asked Questions with Trafalgar, Insight Vacations and Contiki about tests, quarantining rules, the latest changes, etc.
These are two more examples of how our financially strong, 101 year old family-owned and run business continues to invest in the latest tools and technology which improves the ways in which we can serve you well. Hopefully you are already aware of other innovative initiatives we’ve introduced in the last year – from our Wellbeing Directors , to our very flexible, friendly booking conditions, special and new offers, new travel insurance offerings and much more.
As noted above, many of you who are reaching out to us have been recently vaccinated, wondering where they can go now and what they can do, and we are delighted to have these conversations. These green shoots we are seeing are exciting and enticing. There are numerous countries in Europe and the Americas which have opened up to both vaccinated and pre-tested travelers. Check out our online tool, that will give you the latest information on every destination’s current state of readiness.
Within TTC’s brands, Red Carnation Hotels in the UK will reopen on 17th May and Ireland is expected to reopen mid-June (including Ashford Castle), Uniworld anticipates its first sailing in in late May or early June, Trafalgar, Insight Vacations and Contiki around then in Europe too.
As more of us start to find our travel legs in the coming months, many of us may wish to travel where we feel most secure, close to home. TTC brands have designed and introduced new immersive “near not far” holidays in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK and South Africa. We invite you to visit Trafalgar and Insight Vacations to learn more, and to take special note of new itineraries by Contiki, offering adventures for 18 to 35 year old’s), for whom these many months of isolation have been particularly challenging.
With this in mind, I am here to assure you that you can begin to research and pursue your travel dreams with comfort and peace of mind now, if you’re ready to, but have not begun yet. I also invite you to visit TTC.com/comfort, where you’ll see a short video about the latest protocols and practices some of our brands have put in place to help ensure your health and wellbeing when traveling with us. There you will also learn about our new, more flexible booking, deposit and cancellation policies.
New payment options are also available for those looking to pay over time or use a third party payment site like Uplift (In the USA and Canada) or ZipMoney (in Australia, New Zealand and the UK), and are fully integrated into our booking systems too. New CoVid-19 travel insurance is now also available in some of our markets, with more to come.
As I write this, we at TTC are keenly aware that we are entering a new era in travel. This past year has made us all the more conscious and appreciative of what a tremendous gift travel is, and all the more determined to make our travels meaningful. One way we do this is through the TreadRight Foundation, which we founded over 13 years ago to make travel matter.
Your travel supports their work, which annually funds numerous philanthropic projects around the globe focused on our three pillars – Planet, People, and Wildlife. Unlike other travel companies, we do not ask for donations from our travelers, but donate a percentage of our profits annually to TreadRight. To learn more and read about some of the exciting new projects we have funded the past six months, please visit Treadright.org, to see our 2 new carbon removal projects Project Vesta, Greenwave and 2 new food security projects Flourish Forever and Green Bronx Machine.
While travel during the pandemic has been at a virtual standstill, TreadRight’s activities have accelerated. We launched on Earth Day this year a powerful new Climate Action Plan that follows our How We Tread Right strategy to become carbon neutral across our company before 2030. Our first brand to do so, Contiki , also just announced they will be carbon neutral next year.
Our three TreadRight ambassadors have recently completed some beautiful and moving short videos, which we invite you to watch here. As and when the doors of travel open again, we look forward to resuming and expanding the positive impact travel can have on the world, as described in the TreadRight Pledge. (If you have not yet taken the pledge, we invite you to join us, committing to make your future travels matter.)
All this is to say that my family’s business is here to serve you, as we have been for four generations over the past one hundred years. Right now, that means offering the inspiration and information for you to plan your travels, with the peace of mind and confidence that you will be traveling with a company that truly cares about you and your holiday.
When the time comes, we look forward to serving you with the genuine service, caring warmth, and passionate hospitality on your travel experiences, making memories that will last a lifetime.
Chief Executive – TTC