Message from our founders Andy and Aneela McKenna
The tourism community needs your support. If you are booked to travel with us, please read this message from our founders.
We are all living through an exceptional moment in history. Amongst all the current uncertainty there is one thing that remains constant – we are grateful for and humbled by your goodwill, your continued love for Scotland and your desire to ride with us when the time is right.
Thank you for your solidarity and the deep sense of compassion we have felt on our social media, in the messages, emails and calls we’ve already had with many of you. It’s important for us to play our small part in this situation: we want to welcome the good folks who are propping up societies everywhere back to Scotland’s hills, mountains and glens when the time is right. We had a dream last night: to offer a small thank you to frontline workers everywhere who ride bikes – a ‘pay what you want’ type of experience to come and ride bikes in Scotland with us when this Coronavirus crisis is under control and it’s safe to travel and ride. We very much look forward to that day.
In the event that circumstances prevent your trip from proceeding, please be reassured:
- That we are financially sustainable through this crisis to deliver your tour when the time is right for us to operate and for you to feel comfortable travelling again.
- As always, we are committed to customer satisfaction and your financial protection.
- Your payments are all fully insured from the cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Go-Where Scotland, therefore you are 100% financially secure in the unlikely event that our business fails.
- That we will endeavour to ensure that your future trip with us will be everything and more than you expect.
As we are sure you understand, we are having to make difficult decisions to stabilise our business that we could never have imagined only a few short weeks ago – such is the gravity and unprecedented nature of the challenges global, Scottish tourism and wider society face.
Here is how you can help. If your trip is not within the next 6 weeks, please hold off making changes to your travel plans with us. The situation is changing quickly and it’s better for everyone if you can make an informed decision nearer your time of travel. Then if you’d like to postpone your trip, we’ll be happy to help and have made our terms more flexible to allow this.
We are a small independent business and the tours we operate boost fragile rural Scottish economies. Your support at this time could make the difference between many rural businesses staying in business, or going to the wall and potentially changing the face of the community forever. Likewise, our amazing team of guides, many of whom you have met, are really suffering right now with the uncertainty. Your support can help keep them in a profession they love and one they excel at.
We are here so you can keep daydreaming of riding in Scotland’s most adventurous places. Over the last 12 years you, our customers, have been at the heart of our business in our mission to share our passion for the inspiration, spirit and value of Scotland’s wild places.
While unprecedented, we know that this storm will pass and when it does, I promise you that we will work harder than ever to deliver you a trip of a lifetime.
Above all and with sincerity, look after yourselves and each other. Be assured that we will endeavour to speak with each of our clients on a personal basis as the situation evolves.
Thank you all for your continued support in these difficult times.
Andy & Aneela McKenna
For customers who are concerned about their travel plans in light of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, the welfare of our communities, customers, staff and suppliers is the first priority of everyone at Go-Where Scotland. Any decision we make as to whether to operate a trip, cancel or make any changes to it will always be in the interest of their safety and security – as the situation is such a dynamic one, please regularly monitor the updates on this page.
[Updated: May 12th, 2020]
Exceptional times call for exceptional measures. We recognise that the future is uncertain for all of us and our guests will undoubtedly be concerned about their health and holiday plans in light of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. We want to assure you that we are keeping a close eye on ongoing developments and that any decision we make about your trip is in the interest of your welfare, safety and security.
On 23rd March, the UK Government directed that people must stay at home apart from essential travel or they may face penalties. This came into effect immediately and includes all non-essential travel within the UK. This step follows the advice issued by the UK Government advising against all non-essential overseas travel. Scotland is currently on lockdown – we therefore strongly advise all customers to keep up to date with the latest travel advice and information. We recommend that you check the World Health Organisation and Foreign and Commonwealth office websites for up-to-date travel and important health information.
TEMPORARY BOOKING POLICY
Coronavirus-related travel restrictions constantly change and as we understand your worries that you might not be able to travel we now offer flexible rebooking or deferral options for all customers booked to travel with us. In addition, we aim to confirm the status of holidays before balance payments are due – now reduced to 30 days before the start of the holiday. The policy below sets out our current booking conditions as of 28th April 2020 and temporarily supersedes our standard booking conditions as applicable, but we reserve the right to change it in line with circumstances as they develop as we will always put our clients’ safety first.
- If you have paid your deposit: the deposit will be retained by us but may be used as a travel credit for part payment for any of our holidays departing before 31 December 2022. Postponement on these terms will generally not be accepted until 30-45 days (depending on the holiday booked) before the holiday start date, to allow time for the unfolding pandemic situation to become clearer.
- If you have paid your balance: In this case, the balance will be retained by us, but may be used as a travel credit for (part) payment against any of our holidays departing before 31 December 2022.
Options for redeeming your credit:
- You can re-book the tour now for a future travel date before 31 December 2021; if the situation is still uncertain when your new date approaches, you are entitled to 2 free date changes provided that you have paid your balance.
- You have the opportunity to defer and all monies paid will be held as a future holiday booking deposit. You can hold on to your travel credit until you feel comfortable to re-book on a future tour departing before 31 December 2022. The travel credits are transferable and if you are not able to travel they can be used by a member of your family, a relative or a friend of yours so they can serve as gift vouchers too. If the travel credit has not been used or transferred within its validity, the original customer will be entitled to a full refund of all money retained (travel credit values include ‘goodwill credits*’; if you do not redeem the travel credit within its validity, you will be entitled to a refund less goodwill credits, non-recoverable costs, Stripe debit / credit card fees from the original charge).
- Please note that travel credits cannot be exchanged against money during their validity, but they are fully transferable – the credit can be freely used by a member of your family, a relative or a friend of yours so they can serve as gift vouchers too!
*Goodwill Credits: in circumstances where customers have received discretionary credits on amended/cancelled bookings prior to the Covid-19 pandemic – refund values outwith the travel credit validity period will be net of this credit amount.
We will not be responsible for any collateral losses suffered by you, including flight costs and other prepayments, nor for any costs involved in quarantining or reorganising travel.
Travel insurance for new bookings: You must always ensure that you have adequate travel insurance for your trip. You must be covered for Medical Expenses and Medical Emergency Repatriation in the event of illness or injury. We also strongly recommend that you add a CFAR (‘Cancel for Any Reason’) coverage.
We hope that you, our valued customers, will keep travelling when it’s safe to do so, even if that means changing your trip choice or postponing your plans. In this respect we will continue to work in the face of this exceptional global crisis to create the most flexible policies we can to safeguard your experience. For us we want you to stay safe, stay well, and if your plans have to change, please be assured that we will do our best to remain flexible and understanding.
We operate our trips by strictly following the advice by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Scottish Government, Fit for Travel and the World Health Organisation. FCO travel advice remains under constant review and due to the ongoing developments we advise all customers to keep up to date with the latest travel advice and information. We strongly recommend that you check the WHO and FCO website for up-to-date travel information.
1. Is my holiday going to take place as planned?
We will respond accordingly to any advice by the FCO against non-essential travel to your destination and will contact you as soon as possible if we have to cancel your holiday. If this happens, please refer to the information provided.
2. My departure date is imminent and there is FCO advice against travel, can I get a refund instead of changing my date or obtaining a voucher?
We operate our trips by strictly following the advice by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and national government guidelines. We are a duly insured tour operator bonded by mandatory Public/Product Liability Insurance (also known as Tour Operator insurance). We are fully compliant with the EU Package Travel Directive (2015/2302/EU) – these insurances have been arranged by Towergate Chapman Stevens through Zurich Insurance PLC.
On 19 March 2020 the European Commission Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers updated its INFORMATION ON THE PACKAGE TRAVEL DIRECTIVE IN CONNECTION WITH THE COVID-19. Below is an excerpt regarding the acceptance of travel vouchers instead of refunds. The full document can be downloaded here.
“Having regard to the strains on liquidity of tour operators because of missing new bookings coupled with reimbursement claims, travellers should consider accepting that their package tour is postponed to a later point in time. Having regard to the current uncertainty to make travel plans, that could be done by means of a credit note (so-called “voucher”).”
And here is an excerpt from the most recent ABTA guidelines for travellers:
Advice to customers seeking refunds and with forward bookings:
On 17 March the Government advised against all non-essential travel overseas, initially for a period of 30 days. This situation is unprecedented, and ABTA is in urgent talks with the Government to introduce temporary changes to regulations to ensure that customer’s money is protected under the current extraordinary circumstances. We are asking for support from the travelling public in the following ways:
- If your trip has been cancelled because of the change in FCO advice, talk in the first instance to your travel provider to discuss options.
- If possible, postpone your holiday or travel arrangements, don’t cancel – this will mean you have a holiday to look forward to in the future, and it will help your travel provider maintain its cash flow through the short-term challenges.
- If you are not able to postpone, they may offer you a refund credit voucher instead of a cash refund. ABTA is in urgent talks with the Government to ensure that these credit arrangements have the full cover of financial protection. You should await further guidance on this.
- If your travel provider has said they will offer a cash refund, please be patient with them as they process this: they are likely to be dealing with an exceptionally high volume of enquiries.
- If you have a travel booking for later in the year, please be patient. The situation is changing rapidly, and travel restrictions are currently only in place until mid-April. You may incur cancellation charges or lose your deposit if you make a hasty decision.
Nobody knows for sure how long the current coronavirus pandemic will last, but we know that we will come out of the other side and we need to ensure that when we do, holidaymakers are still able to book and take their holidays and that there is healthy and competitive travel industry to support them.
3. If I cannot follow my initial travel plans due to the Covid-19 outbreak, am I entitled to compensation?
In this case, you won’t be entitled to any compensation by us, as the reason for the holiday not continuing is outside the control of the tour operator. We can, however, offer you flexible options to move your booking as detailed above. You might also be entitled to insurance coverage – please consult your travel insurance provider.
4. I haven’t yet paid the balance for my holiday. Can I pay later while I wait and see what happens?
We ask you to make the balance payment for your holiday at least 60 days before your holiday start date. You can do this safe knowing that we will provide you with a full refund if we have to cancel your holiday. We usually have to make payments to our local suppliers before your arrival, and we need to receive your payment in order to do this. If we do not receive your full balance payment on time we send you a reminder email, and we reserve the right to treat your booking as cancelled by you if we don’t receive your payment within 7 days of our reminder.
5. Do I need travel insurance?
You must always ensure that you have adequate travel insurance for your trip. You should check the wording of your policy, to ensure it covers all the activities and eventualities of the trip that you are taking part in. You must be covered for Medical Expenses and Medical Emergency Repatriation in the event of illness or injury (including the deterioration of known medical conditions).
6. If I am in an area and the FCO advice is to return home, will my travel insurer cover any additional costs I incur in getting back home?
Travel insurance policies may cover some out-of-pocket losses, and also help you to leave the area if a warning to return back home comes into effect while you are in the UK, if you are unable to get assistance from any other source. You should keep up to date with government advice.
7. What are your cancellation policies?
You can read our full Terms and Conditions here – we particularly draw your attention to the section entitled ‘AMENDMENTS AND CANCELLATIONS BY CLIENT’ which refers to customer cancellations and the section entitled ‘AMENDMENTS AND CANCELLATIONS BY US’ which refers to tour operator cancellations. Additionally, we will strive to be as flexible as possible – please refer to our Covid-19 exceptional discretionary measures above.
8. Where can I check for updated travel and coronavirus information related to my destination?
- ABTA offers updated advice and FAQs for travellers: www.abta.com/coronavirus
- WHO is providing detailed advice on how to protect yourself and rolling updates on the outbreak: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
- Travellers are advised to read the FCO travel advice for the country they are travelling to: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
- The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) TravelHealthPro website: travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries
- Fit for Travel: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/disease-prevention-advice/coronavirus-disease-covid-19