COVID-19 has stopped travel for the time being. But what if you already had a trip booked?
This article highlights how– if your circumstances permit– you could make a big difference to those in the tourism industry by choosing to postpone rather than cancel. And yes, I am biased as I work in the industry but hear me out.
Contact Your Insurance Company
The first step, if you are not able to travel due to COVID-19, is to contact your insurance company. Some will cover you and some will not, it all depends on the company, the cover you have and when you bought it. But if you do not ask, you will never know. Contact your tour operator if you need supporting documents.
The truth about how the tourism industry is coping
The tourism industry is working on credit at the moment. In effect, a system of IOUs. I owe you a trip to Machu Picchu. I owe you a night in a hotel, and so on. Money is not moving in the chain, either up, nor down. There is no money coming into the chain, so the industry cannot afford to let money exit the chain. Any money that does leave the chain, does so at a cost.
Canceling will cost
Deposits are often non-refundable. That is how the industry works. If you cancel, it will cost you. This is because organizing a holiday takes time and effort. To guarantee your tour hotels will have turned away other bookings, guides will have turned down other work, the Inca Trail authorities will have turned away other trekkers and so on.
Postponing is free
Due to the special circumstances, some, including ourselves are allowing you to postpone your trip, free of charge within certain dates. In our case, you can postpone your trip, free of charge, as long as it is completed by December 30th, 2021.
The Difference You Can Make by Choosing to Postpone
Postponing keep more business open
Most businesses can not survive long without a flow of cash coming in. Aside from wages, there are fixed costs: office, vehicles, hotels, loan repayments and more. Here in Peru, the tourism season was just about to start, companies have not had much money coming in since December so reserves are already low. The longer this crisis continues, the more businesses will be forced to close.
Postponing preserves jobs
Tourism provides over 1.3 million jobs in Peru. It brings in over USD 8 million income to Peru or 3.8% of GDP. While it is not the only industry to suffer, it is one of the most affected.
Postponing preserves choice
The more hotels, restaurants, operators, airlines that are forced to close, the less choice there will be in the future. Postponing helps preserve that choice.
Postponing supports people
Businesses and the number of jobs can seem faceless, mere statistics. But it is people who are affected. Every time a company closes, every time another job is lost, that is a family struggling to buy food, struggling to pay the rent, struggling to pay for school (most schools charge in Peru), struggling to survive.
Postponing Supports Women
67% of Tourism Workers in Peru are Women. Gender inequality is a massive problem in Peru. As is domestic violence. Tourism is one of the industries that give women a chance to be financially independent. This may be the difference between being able to escape an abusive partner or not. Or simply the chance to be on a more equal footing with men.
Postponing Helps Preserve Peru for the Future
Tourism protects many of our natural areas. Areas such as the Amazon Rainforest are important not just for Peru, but for the whole world. While tourism certainly can have negative effects, especially if not well managed, on the whole, it is better than the alternatives. By providing alternative employment to exploitative industries such as mining and logging, it helps ensure that the Peru you so wanted to see, will be here in the future when your grandkids want to come.
While you can’t travel because of coronavirus now, you will be able to take the trip you had planned in the future. Think of it as a bonus to look forwards to. Peru will thank you for it.
Here are a some articles on the same theme. It is a global problem: