As with the rest of the world, we have been impacted by Coronavirus.
The government has now eased restrictions for tourism & hospitality regarding vaccination requirements. Clients travelling on tours or staff employed, are no longer required to be vaccinated.
We travel through many Indigenous communities on our tour. These communities have many elderly people, who may be more susceptible to Covid-19 than others. The reality of Covid-19 coming into Indigenous communities is that it could severely impact older generations and wipe out thousands of years of knowledge. Sometimes this knowledge may not have been recorded or passed down yet. This will always be a major consideration for our travel and health during tour.
In 2020, 2021 and 2022, we were very flexible with bookings and clients. There was a lot of uncertainty, and it was hard to make plans. For clients that had booked we offered to hold their deposit & balance for following years, or refund all their deposit & balance payment minus an administration fee. To date, no one lost their money with us.
In 2023, we will continue to do our best to be fair with bookings and refunds. Anyone booking with us, is booking direct to the operator which has benefits of flexibility. Section 8 below outlines our cancellation policy, regarding unforeseeable events. As Covid-19 has become part of life, it may no longer qualify as ‘Force Majeure’ #. Cancellations due to personal or other reasons will follow the conditions in section 7 of the Terms and Conditions.
Generally, if we can replace your seat on a tour we will refund your money less a booking and admin fee.
#We suspect that in the past, people have cancelled due to a change of mind, but have used Covid-19 as their reason and got their money back. This puts our business in a hard position as we often turn away customers due to being fully booked. So, when people cancel last minute, we often take on the costs of empty seats, while the client gets their money back. We only ask you to be respectful and honest.
Before & During Tour
We are allowed to operate with a full tour bus given our small numbers, as long as we operate under several COVID-Safe Principles. The main items, are pre-screening, social-distancing where possible and cleaning practices during the tour.
We MUST screen everyone that comes on the tour. This is to protect everyone that is on the tour, as well as anyone in Cape York. This means if you are unwell before the tour and test positive to Covid-19, you will be excluded from the tour.
We are one of the VERY few tour groups that has not had a case of Covid on tour yet, and we attribute this to a good pre-screening system and the honesty of our clients.
My best advice at this stage would be to have a week or two before the tour where you are isolated from potential people with the cold/flu. If you’re travelling up by road, in that last week for example you could be a bit more cautious and distant from larger community gatherings. If travelling up by plane, perhaps consider coming up a week earlier so you’re not around potentially sick people. Avoid busy places like shopping centres and festivals. It could jeopardise your trip, or someone else’s.
Social distancing itself will be very difficult in most situations on a tour, so Pre-screening is very important for that reason. The health department defines a unique tour activity like ours (enclosed space, small group, prolonged time) as more of a family group. So, while we will be doing our best to maintain high hygiene standards within our group, it will be more about being Covid-safe in relation to others outside of our group. If you have problems with this, please notify me IMMEDIATELY.
Clients are expected to be respectful of everyone on tour. Please take care of yourself and others by maintaining a good standard of hygiene.
Actionable items for you:
Covid-19 Check-in App
Check-in is no longer required.
There will be hand sanitising on board and handwashing outside the bus. Hands should be sanitised frequently. The bus will be cleaned often. There will be ample signage around the bus, please refer to these so we can all assure we stay safe and healthy.
I am aware that most of our clients are 60-80 years of age, and many with pre-existing conditions. If you are concerned about this tour, PLEASE contact me at your soonest availability. I feel if we follow the above & COVID-Safe guidelines, we will be absolutely fine.
IF someone tests positive for Covid-19 during a tour.
As you can imagine this would be a tricky situation for several reasons. Our stance on it and our recommendations are as follows.
All travellers should be incredibly diligent with your health, hygiene and activities leading up to a tour, especially the 2 weeks prior to departure. Visiting busy shopping centres or bars for example would be high risk. This puts you, and your fellow travellers at risk.
This is indeed a tricky obstacle to navigate. Hopefully, if everyone is careful before tour, we won’t have any issues. I must re-iterate. If your tour departure is within 2 weeks time, PLEASE, consider your movements and hygiene in the lead up. I hope you understand the above process. We must consider the health of everyone on board.
From Terms & Conditions:
It is the passenger’s responsibility to make the start of the tour, with special regard to border closures and quarantine. If they don’t the standard cancellation rules apply.
Passengers must adhere to government regulations including vaccination requirements for travel. Our tours visit Indigenous communities and it is our priority to protect these communities as best we can. If you book but can’t travel due to failing vaccination requirements, cancellation conditions in section 7 will apply.
This includes cancellation by the traveller or us due to unforeseen circumstances including natural disasters, terrorism, seasonality, political instability, pandemics, disease outbreaks, government enforcement and work stoppages. These circumstances are unforeseeable and Cockatours will endeavour to do our best to be fair to passengers.
Cancellations by us or you will result in these options:
This is not valid for travellers cancelling due to personal reasons and cancellation terms in section 7 will apply. Cockatours will determine if the cause of cancellation is legitimately ‘force majeure’ & was unforeseeable at the time of booking.