On March 12th, the Government issued travel advice for schools, advising against all overseas trips for children under 18 until further notice.
ABTA and the STF then produced a joint statement on March 13th.
On March 17th, the FCDO advised against all international non-essential travel, initially for a period of 30 days.
This is a unique situation, no one in the travel industry has faced anything like this before. ABTA is currently locked in discussions with the Government to find a way to best help all those affected by this travel embargo.
The Outdoor Advisors Panel (OEAP) and the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) have been working to help schools to claim from their travel insurance for all school trips which they are not able to take due to Government advice.
On March 25th, they issued the following statement which has been signed off by the Department for Education (DfE):
“For domestic visits and visits abroad, which have had to be cancelled as a result of government advice, please contact your insurer. For those schools who have committed to educational visits which can now not go ahead, the government’s advice issued is sufficient and will allow schools to make an insurance claim against their policy.”
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) also has information on school visits abroad and states on their website “Most travel insurers will provide cover should the FCDO guidance advise against travel”.
So whilst we work to recover costs from suppliers and wait for advice from ABTA and the Government, we recommend you contact your insurers.
We hope that for those tours due to travel later in the year, you hold on to your booking until the situation becomes clearer. However, if you decide to cancel a trip departing after 16th April, then our normal cancellation policy applies. Schools should still contact their insurer or the Department for Education as they may have some financial cover in place.
This is a fast changing situation and it’s hard to predict how long the current situation will last. We of course hope that things return to normal as soon as possible and we can get back to doing what we do best - planning your trips.