February 29, 2020
We continue to monitor quite closely the progression of the COVID19 Corona virus across the world, and most importantly, in all of our student destinations. The health and safety of our travelers are paramount to our business. Our goal is to keep our groups safe and together. Vamonos is one of the only tour operators who accompanies groups with a 24/7 tour director, an assistant tour director, and at times, a tour manager. This further ensures the safety of the group.
To stay well informed, we use a full array of sources: Center for Disease Control (CDC-http://www.cdc.gov), World Health Organization (WHO-who.org), our partner association the Student Youth Travel Association (www.syta.org), the US Department of State, government sources, major media outlets and on the ground suppliers and partners.
The CDC has recently advised that the immediate health risk to the general American public is low. They have been explicit in stating that they are not advising against travel domestically or to other parts of the world (excluding Asia, Africa, Italy, and the Middle East), as the virus has been largely geographically limited, with nearly most of the cases occurring in Asia. Airports across the world have implemented enhanced health screenings for travelers, which travelers may see when they travel. Regardless of the destination, we encourage all to follow standard hygiene practices to stay healthy.
According to experts (read NPR’s Can Coronavirus be Crushed by Warmer Weather?), this virus may be sensitive to UV irradiation and temperatures above 80 degrees. All our Caribbean and Central American destinations, plus Miami, have annual temperatures that fluctuate on average between 77-86 degrees. We strongly encourage groups to keep traveling to these destinations.
At Vamonos, we’ve had plenty of experience running tours during regional or worldwide situations. As with any crisis, we will closely follow our Vamonos safety protocol:
- Keep the group safe and together.
- Increase our extra precautionary measures, along with local vendors, hotels, buses, and governments, to sanitize surfaces and diminish any spread of germs.Vtravelers not to share foods or drinks with anyone else.
- Advise travelers to purchase optional travel insurance in order to avoid unforeseen issues/illnesses that may cause them to cancel their tour and lose their deposits.
- Urge individuals to stay home if their immune system is compromised or they are sick prior to tour departure.
- Offer hand sanitizers and ask students to wash their hands multiple times a day.
- Work hand in hand with what SYTA, CDC, and the WHO suggest in terms of travel.
- Inform group of any affected flight changes through group leader and the group’s secured web page.
- Urge group leaders to encourage their groups to use good hygiene practices, such as:
- NO TOUCH: Keep your hands out of your nose, eyes, and mouth.
- COVER and turn away when you or others are coughing or sneezing.
- WASH hands thoroughly before eating anything.
- AVOID shaking hands or touching handles especially in large public places
For those traveling to Puerto Rico, please know that San Juan, despite being one of the busiest airports in the Caribbean, has no incoming flights from Asia, the Middle East, or Italy. Fortunately, more than 90% of flights are domestic.
2020 Vamonos groups traveling to Puerto Rico and Central America:
We take things like hurricanes, earthquakes, and viruses very seriously and monitor these situations closely. We will not travel to areas that are unsafe for our travelers.
The U.S. Department of State, WHO, and CDC have not issued any travel warning or advisory for these warm destinations. All our partners, vendors, and hotels are fully operational and eager to serve our groups. There is no evidence of the destination being uninhabitable or of force majeure.
According to this evidence, we will not cancel or postpone any group at this point. We are confident that our warm destinations are low risk and ready for safe student travel.
If groups would like to postpone their tour date or change their destination, we will help them and apply their funds towards the new tour date or destination. We will attempt to keep any additional airfare or change-related charges to a minimum. Cancellation will be subject to our terms and conditions. We will, however, give travelers that choose to cancel the option to apply any unrefunded money to a future trip.*
Thank you for your support and care. For further information, contact your client relations representative or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
President, Vamonos Tours Inc.
*Offer is specific to traveler and cannot be transferred to another traveler.