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Response and Policy

The situation and news surrounding the Coronavirus is changing on a daily basis, as are our learnings and understanding of the measures required to slow and manage its spread.

Whilst our advice for customers is always guided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Sunvil's experienced operations team are also monitoring the news and official advice on Covid-19, and are in regular dialogue with our colleagues on the ground in resort. The health and safety of our customers, staff and local partners is paramount.

On Friday 03 July the UK government announced a series of ‘travel corridors’, whereby arrivals into the UK would be exempt from the need to quarantine - both Greece and Cyprus were on the list.

GIC The Villa Collection has taken the decision to work towards a restart the majority of our holiday season from 16 July, with Cyprus from 01 August, unless prohibited by local and destination conditions.

We understand that you may have questions concerning your confirmed holiday or proposed trip and have compiled a short Q&A below. Any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on 020 8232 9780.

Remember that in a fast-changing situation like this, we may not have clear answers to every question. But we will always do our best to tell you clearly what we know, and what we don’t know.

Our guidance: Insurance It has always been a condition of booking that all our travellers have valid insurance, including health and repatriation cover, when they travel. This remains as important as ever, if not more so.

In response to the global pandemic a number of insurance companies have announced that their policies now include (or will soon offer) cover for virus related support whilst overseas - these include: AXA, Holiday Extras, Saga and The Post Office. ABTA Travel Sure, CoverForYou, CedarTree and Outbacker have announced that their policies will cover cancellation for Coronavirus (Covid-19) related events i.e. illness and self-isolation prior to travel in addition to the provision of overseas support. Please ensure that you carefully read the conditions and exclusions prior to purchase of any insurance.

Our guidance: FCO travel advice GIC The Villa Collection has always followed the travel advice of the UK government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Where issues of illness and infection are concerned, the FCO usually mirrors the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

FCO advice is frequently modified and adapted. To avoid jumping the gun, we wait until much closer to departure, and sometimes as little as 14 days, before following the FCO advice that applies at that time.

Then, if the FCO advises against “all but essential travel” to a particular area, we will respond swiftly and individually to travellers who are about to be imminently affected. If we have travellers in these areas, we make great efforts to move them out. Travellers who have trips which are due to traverse or stay in these areas will be re-routed or have their trips deferred.

1. What happens if my holiday plans are affected? The situation surrounding the Coronavirus (Covid-19) is fluid, but rest assured that our operations team are keeping abreast of the latest advice. We are not virologists, but we are experts in our field and have tried and tested response measures in place.

On Tuesday 17 March, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued advice against all but non-essential travel for 30 days. On Saturday 04 April this advice was extended to an indefinite period of time. This note has since been amended to read: The Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. This advice is being kept under constant review.

We have taken the decision to offer our clients travelling until 15 July the opportunity to defer their holidays to a date later in the season or to travel in 2021. Alternatively, a fully-bonded Refund Credit Note covering the money paid to date will be issued and can be used against a new holiday for 2020 or 2021 when booked before 31 January 2021. Cash refunds can be requested but we would urge you firstly to consider a Refund Credit Note, which is fully financially protected, is refunded if unused and aids our cash flow in these difficult times for the company.

For clients travelling before 15 August we have reduced our balance due dates to allow additional breathing space. Balance payments are now due four weeks prior to departure for those travelling between 16-31 July and six weeks prior to departure for those travelling between 01-14 August.

We have always treated our clients as individuals and this situation is no different.

2. I have a holiday booked with you, what are my options? For clients due to depart before 15 July, our villa specialists will have been in contact to discuss the aforementioned options.

For departures after 15 July your holiday is scheduled to go ahead as planned and therefore any requested changes will incur administration and/or cancellation fees as per our terms and conditions. In this instance we suggest you carefully read your travel insurance policy to check it will cover your loss. Please call your insurer if you are not sure. It is unlikely that your travel insurance will cover lost monies for disinclination to travel.

Our specialists are on hand to discuss the options available, the local conditions and destination protocols and to provide you with a revised holiday quotation - for a later date of travel, as desired.

3. Can I delay paying the balance of my holiday? Whilst the payment of your holiday on the date stated on our confirmation invoice would be preferred, we appreciate that this is not business as normal and that our clients may feel anxious about parting with this money in these uncertain times.

For clients travelling before 15 August we have reduced our balance due dates to allow additional breathing space. Balance payments are now due four weeks prior to departure for those travelling between 16-31 July and six weeks prior to departure for those travelling between 01-14 August.

For clients travelling on 15 August or later, the balance due date remains as per your confirmation invoice. Unfortunately, we have financial obligations to our suppliers which increase as time passes. Hence, we suggest that you: Pay your balance on time and travel as planned; or Cancel your trip, accepting you will lose the deposit you have paid us.

4. Can I defer my holiday? If you wish to defer your trip, then we will do our very best to make this possible for you but it may not always be possible without incurring cancellation fees.

Plans are afoot to restart our holiday programmes, and, with clear indications that the UK’s policy against non-essential travel is likely to change, our suppliers are requesting payments in order to secure their services; these charges may not be transferable or refundable.

Any requested deferrals will be taken on a case-by-case basis and revised quotations provided as per our terms and conditions. Any alteration requested within eight weeks of departure will be treated as a cancellation of the original holiday (attracting cancellation charges) and a new holiday booking made.

Outside of eight weeks of departure, deferrals are available as per our terms and conditions with administration fees applicable. Where a holiday is deferred from 2020 to 2021 an additional holiday deposit of £250 per person and any upfront airline charges are payable.

Please note that Early Booking Offers applicable to your original holiday cannot be carried across to your new reservation.

5. What are your cancellation terms? Our cancellation charges are listed below: 56 days or more before departure: Deposit only 55-43 days before departure: 30% 42-29 days before departure: 40% 28-22 days before departure: 60% 21-15 days before departure: 80% 14 days or less before departure: 100%

Important notes: Amended cancellation terms apply to bookings departing until 14 August are applicable. For travellers until 31 July, cancellation up to 29 days prior to departure would incur a loss of deposit. For travellers until 14 August, this policy applies up until 43 days prior to departure. Closer to departure i.e. 28 days/42 days before departure and less, the terms and conditions remain as above. We reserve our right to pass on to you any cancellation charges imposed by our suppliers which are in excess of the cancellation charges set out above. In particular, any ‘bought-in flight element’ will be charged at 100% cancellation fees for the flight. Please note that this is as per our Booking Conditions.

6. What can I do? Travellers are advised to read the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice for the country they are travelling to, which includes a link through to the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) TravelHealthPro website that provides specific travel health advice for countries. You may also wish to familiarise yourself with the latest advice from the World Health Organisation.

We repeat our recommendation not to take overhasty action to cancel if your holiday is some way off - far better to wait until shortly before the final balance is due to be paid and then speak to us if you have concerns, as the situation is fast changing. Our cancellation charges (other than loss of deposit) do not apply until this point so the cost of delaying your decision before then is zero.

7. What happens if I am ill and cannot travel? You should contact your travel insurance provider to claim a refund for the monies paid to GIC The Villa Collection. Cancellations should be made in writing.

Please read your policy and call your insurer if you are not sure – and please also keep us informed of the situation if your trip is imminent.

8. What are the latest travel recommendations for those over 70 years of age? ABTA’s guidance regarding customers over 70 years of age, and/or with a medical condition, is that the Government advice against travel relates to the capacity of the individual to travel, not to the deliverability of the arrangements, and therefore does not give rise to a right to refund.

9. Can I still book a holiday with you? Yes. Our villa specialists are on the end of the phone to help design your perfect break. You can even save up to 40% on selected villa holidays and our 2021 trips are now on sale.