Many Britons this year were looking forward to summer holidays abroad. But the coronavirus pandemic has since meant that most people’s holidays have either been put on hold or cancelled. The pandemic, which has sadly claimed the lives of almost 400,000 worldwide, has put huge financial strain on the travel and tourism sector.
“We can’t have a situation where they’re just hanging on to money.”
Currently, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has stated that trips abroad are prohibited unless it’s for an essential purpose.
The comment from Mr Shapps has both reassured the public and outraged the travel sector.
Twitter users took to the social media site to express their thoughts on Mr Shapp’s comments.
One user tweeted one airline and said: “Grant Shapps at yesterday’s COVID briefing said that passengers were entitled to receive REFUNDS NOT VOUCHERS!!!
“It’s not that you ‘can’t’ issue a refund once a voucher has been issued, it just that you ‘WON’T’.
“Your ‘customer service’ STINKS.”
Another user tweeted another company: “We can’t have a situation where they’re just hanging onto money.
“Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, today enforced your legal obligations to us.
“He is talking about you, holding onto our money. It’s illegal.
“No discussion needed, refund us as legally obliged.”
Co-owner of Kicheche Camps in Kenya, Paul Goldstein, told travel expert Simon Calder in The Independent: “For the transport secretary to accuse impoverished tour operators of hanging on to clients’ money is an insult to an already beleaguered industry.
“Many clients have been very loyal in letting operators keep deposits for the future and this has supported their cash flow.
“But right now financially the whole industry is teetering with many job losses. It is a disgrace from a government making their policies up as they go along.”
A spokesperson for ABTA, the travel association, said: “Members should refund customers as soon as they are able to and without undue delay.
“Companies will have varying timings they are working to to process refunds for any number of reasons including fewer working staff or having not yet received money back from hotels, airlines and other suppliers affected by the crisis.
“However, if your travel provider has said they will offer a cash refund, they should let you know how long this will take.”
Published at Fri, 05 Jun 2020 10:08:00 +0000