Information for travellers: Coronavirus - COVID-19

Following Government advice relating to the COVID-19 situation, our office is currently closed for a short period.

We are still working and here to support our travellers and wider community. Please use the email addresses below to get in touch with the right team (please use only one of these contacts per enquiry).

Coronavirus related queries: [email protected]

General travel support enquiries, e.g. PADI, passports and fundraising: [email protected]

Suppliers: [email protected]

Any other enquiries: [email protected]

 


Statement as of: 12:00, 11th May 2020

To our Camps community,

We would like to extend our deep thanks and gratitude to each and every one of you. The global crisis created by the current COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it huge challenges for industries, businesses and day to day life around the world. The travel industry is no exception, but we have been heartened by the remarkable support and understanding from our Camps community, which has allowed our team to focus on the critical task of securing an outcome for all our upcoming expeditions.

2020 Summer School Expeditions

We are pleased to report we have spoken to all schools due to travel this summer and we now have confirmed decisions for 100% of our travellers.

Schools have already been in contact with the majority of families and will be notifying remaining families imminently.

Based on the decision from your school, you may be waiting on some further correspondence from us. Rest assured, we are working to get to everyone as soon as we can. Due to the volume of affected clients, it is taking us a little longer than usual and your ongoing patience is greatly appreciated.

If you have an urgent query or concern, please email us here.

Independent Volunteering Expeditions

We are continuing to communicate directly with all independent travellers booked onto our volunteering programmes, still focusing on those due to travel in May, June and July.

As always, if you are facing urgent decisions regarding flights, then please email us here and we will prioritise you.

The Camps Effect

The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly had a significant impact on every single one of us, but for our partner communities in developing countries, the social and economic impact is hugely magnified. Please rest assured we are continuing to support our local crew and we remain committed to our wide range of projects and the people, wildlife and environments that they positively impact. Our regional teams throughout Latin America, East Africa and South East Asia are currently exploring ways in which we can continue working towards our project goals this year.

Please keep an eye on our social media channels for updates on this and all other news from the global Camps team.

In the meantime, please stay safe and we look forward to the more positive and adventurous times that lay ahead.

 


Statement as of: 16:00, 29th April 2020

To our Camps community,

Thank you for your ongoing patience and understanding during this time. We are now very close to securing an outcome for all our upcoming expeditions and wanted to give you a brief update to let you know the current situation.

2020 Summer School Expeditions

Over the past few weeks, we have been working through detailed conversations with schools, organising and making amendments to all summer 2020 expeditions. This is a complex process involving hundreds of schools and thousands of students and we have been working closely with school leadership teams to reach decisions as soon as possible.

We are pleased to report we have made excellent progress and now have confirmed decisions for over 80% of our 2020 travellers. Schools have already been in contact with the majority of families and will be notifying remaining families imminently. If you are yet to receive confirmation, please rest assured your schools are the ones we are focusing on as a priority.

We appreciate the wait is frustrating, however this process is essential in order to ensure the best possible outcome for everyone. We thank you for your ongoing support and we ask you to please remain patient for a short while longer.

Independent Travellers & Gap Year Expeditions: 

We are continuing to communicate directly with all independent travellers booked onto our volunteering programmes, currently focusing on those due to travel in May, June and July.

As always, if you are facing urgent decisions regarding flights, then please email us here and we will prioritise you.

Once again, thank for all your support and patience throughout these challenging times. We extend all our best wishes to you and your families, from our Camps team around the world.

 


Statement as of: 18:00, 20th April 2020

Update for Summer 2020 School and Independent Volunteering Expeditions

To our Camps Community,

Another week has passed since our last message and we hope you all remain safe and well.

2020 Summer School Expeditions:

Conversations with our 2020 travelling UK schools continue every day and we have now received an initial response from all but a handful, each of whom are doing their best to balance the travel options with the challenging educational responsibilities they shoulder. We’re pleased to report that each day we receive more and more confirmations and your school will be in touch with you once they have made their decision.  If you are yet to hear from your school, please rest assured that we are collaborating constantly to reach a solution for you urgently.  Our aim is to establish a way forward for all of our 2020 summer expeditions by the end of April.

Once we have a decision from your school, and they have been in touch with students and parents, we will follow up with a personal communication to each and every one of you.

Independent Travellers & Gap Year Expeditions:  

We are also communicating directly with all independent travellers booked onto our volunteering programmes. Our immediate focus has been for departures in April, May and June. If you are travelling later in the year and are yet to hear from us, please continue to sit tight as we are coming to you soon.  If you are facing urgent decisions regarding flights, then please email us here and we will prioritise you.

As always, thank you for your ongoing understanding and support. Our objectives remain to put safety first, mitigate financial exposure to everyone and ensure that all who wish to travel with Camps are given the opportunity to do so.

We look forward to speaking to you all soon.

 


Statement as of: 16:00, 10th April 2020

As we head into the Easter weekend we wanted to send our very best wishes to our Camps Community and, as always, we hope you are safe and well.

Our conversations with travelling schools are ongoing, but we are making excellent progress and our team has already supported a number of schools in reaching a decision in relation to their 2020 summer expedition. We are also communicating directly with all independent travellers booked onto our Independent Volunteering programmes.

If you are booked onto a school expedition and haven’t yet heard from your school, please be patient. We are working closely with all remaining schools who have yet to make decisions and it is our top priority to reach a solution for all travellers. Confirmation of these decisions will bring the clarity that we appreciate is urgently needed around final payments due in May and other preparations for your expedition such as vaccinations.

Once again, we would like to assure you that all of our solutions are safety focused, geared to mitigate any financial exposure to you and, where possible, to ensure that our young travellers retain the opportunity to travel with us.

The extraordinary understanding and support we have received from you is deeply appreciated by every member of our team. Once again, from all of the 170 Camps staff around the world, we send you our best and please stay safe.

 


Statement as of: 16:00, 3rd April 2020

Update for 2020 Summer Departures

We hope this update finds you safe and well as we all continue to navigate our way through these challenging times. The ongoing understanding and support displayed by our Camps Community has been remarkable and we thank you all for standing by us as we work to deliver the best possible solution for our travellers.

Since the comprehensive statement from our CEO last week, we have been able to confirm a shortlist of current, alternative scenarios in relation to your 2020 summer expedition. We are now in touch with your school and members of our UK team are working through the options available and helping to support each school in reaching a decision.

We appreciate and understand why some of you may feel frustrated by the pace of information or decision making. In real terms, we are making good progress given we have several months prior to travel and many of our key stakeholders are working to a much more immediate and imminent window. Our decision timelines are heavily dependent on schools, airlines and government bodies and we are all working through this as fast as is practically possible.

Please continue to sit tight and bear with us as we work to reach a resolution with each of your schools. We understand that many of you are not able to obtain your vaccinations currently and have some concerns regarding your final payments due in May. For now, all payments remain due as normal and if this changes we will tell you immediately. We suggest you hold off on any associated expenditure in relation to your expedition, such as equipment purchases, until we confirm plans with your school.

We also wish to reiterate that all of our solutions are safety focused, geared to mitigate any financial exposure to you and also ensure that our young travellers retain the opportunity to travel with us.

As always, your continued patience is greatly appreciated and will allow us to continue our planning with your school leadership in order that we can provide you with specific details as soon as possible.

In the meantime, from all of the 170 Camps staff around the world, we send you our best and please stay safe.

 


Statement as of: 16:00, 27th March 2020

An update from our CEO on Covid-19

I trust that as you read this, you and your family remain safe and are managing to steer through the challenging new environment we find ourselves in. I want to thank you for the patience you are showing us and your school, as we model the various scenarios that apply to our next departures in June, July and August, consistent with the constantly evolving government guidelines. I will outline here some of the developments that are likely to come into play in the near future and that have a fundamental influence on our options.

We have received some amazing support from many of you and equally we are taking note of some of the frustrations that exist as you await clarity from us as to how the 2020 summer expedition season may be affected. We pride ourselves on giving direct, clear communication to the Camps community and it is equally frustrating to us that we have to wait for important, and in some cases pivotal, legislative changes before we in turn can advise you. Please don’t interpret this as indecision or inaction. Our team is successfully managing to distil a shortlist of practical scenarios that we will begin to discuss with each school in order that they can contribute to key decisions.

Our core objective will always be safety and please rest assured that this is priority one in all our strategic planning. We are also focused on avoiding scenarios that impact schools and parents financially and appreciate this is another key area of concern. We will of course also continue to do all we can to ensure that students are able to engage with amazing outdoor learning experiences, albeit when safe to do so.

Hopefully by now you have been receiving our weekly updates and have a feel for the issues that influence our decisions and why it is so hard for us to issue definitive guidance 3-4 months prior to travel. As you will see from the decisions that affect all our lives, governments are typically issuing guidance with a forward window of 30 days and then playing catch up as they map out the detail to support individuals, education, the business community and their customers across all industries. For those of you that have already had to cancel personal and business travel arrangements, you will see that airlines are focused only on the next 72 hours and invariably a one-month horizon beyond that. Any decision to cancel now would in most cases be viewed as disinclination to travel, hence we urge everyone to watch and wait for the added flexibility that is filtering in.

The insurance industry is also facing unprecedented pressure and cancellations made as a result of Covid19 under most policies, including ours, is not classed as an insurable risk. With this in mind, if schools or individuals make early decisions to cancel, they will in turn expose themselves to financial loss as we would only be able to return the recoverable monies in line with our cancellation terms. For clarity, this is a scenario we want to avoid, and we believe that imminent changes from government will allow us to provide solutions that avoid this. To reiterate, we want our young travellers to get the experiences they have worked so hard for, safely and without financial loss, even if it means a delay.

I trust you will understand that I am cautious to outline specific solutions until I am confident they will apply, but I will share two key initiatives which we believe and hope will soon come into play. The first involves an anticipated amendment to travel related legislation enabling us to issue 100% credit notes for deferred travel in the event of a ‘live’ government travel advisory at point of departure. Our modelling for this scenario has already identified multiple reserve travel windows and a range of alternative itineraries, depending on the advisory detail. This is one example of a zero-cost option for travellers.

Another scenario dependent on government advice could provide schools with the scope to make decisions sooner, in regard to future travel, and access financial support that combined with us, increases our ability to protect all travellers financially. The terms of this are as yet unclear but it is an important development that we need to include in planning.

As it stands, we still hope that some or all departures will run as planned this summer, but our approach to this is by no means blasé and we are looking at every possible contingency on a trip by trip, month by month basis. What I can say with complete integrity is that safety is at the heart of any decision we make and there will be no attempt for us to profiteer from this crisis. Equally I hope you understand that I will also make decisions in the interests of protecting the jobs and welfare of the amazing people that work at Camps, all around the world, to ensure that we remain healthy and in a position to recover and deliver experiences to the thousands of young people who have booked with us. Not only for 2020 but also for 2021 onwards.

Finally, the written word is often a tough medium to communicate sentiment, but we have a team at Camps that care deeply for every traveller that joins our community and you are centre stage in all our discussions, strategies and decisions. Thank you once again for your patience and understanding and on behalf of my crew, we wish you the very best and stay safe.

Regards and more to follow soon.

Stu

 


Statement as of: 13:30, 21st March 2020

Update for 2020 summer departures

Since our last update a few days ago, much is changing rapidly at a Government and legislative level.  Support for workers’ pay gives reassurance to businesses and there are anticipated changes to the timetable of education systems and travel legislation that will provide additional options and help to mitigate exposure to all stakeholders.  This is fundamental information we need to be in a position to answer all your questions.

With this in mind it is essential that we allow a little time for these policies to become clear and until they do, we would be wrong to issue guidance that may be incorrect, change quickly, or limit important options.  We believe that in the coming days and weeks we will get clarity on the main factors that influence the forthcoming expedition season in 3 – 4 months’ time.  When this becomes clear, we will communicate a set of options, in collaboration with schools, so that you in turn can make informed decisions.

To help illustrate the task in hand, the nature of planning and delivering logistically complex experiences requires us to work with a wide range of supply partners, all of whom are dealing with the impact of this crisis concurrently.  We deliver services to all our travellers for many months in advance of travel with an average booking cycle of 16 months.  In order to secure competitive rates and services we are required to invest heavily upfront, which is why we require advanced payments from our travellers.  Our teams globally will typically invest as much work in the lead up to departures as the expedition itself.  Our list of suppliers includes airlines, hotels, transportation, specialist activity providers and various suppliers for our community, wildlife and environmental projects.  The guidance and support that is coming through from Government daily will, we believe, provide essential flexibility to help us create solutions for you and Camps.

In summary, our next trips do not depart until June and July and we can assure you there is no additional financial exposure that will affect you as we wait for the changes to be implemented.  Ultimately our aim is to deliver an amazing and safe experience when possible, doing all we can to minimise any financial impact, whilst also securing the jobs and welfare of the 170 staff at Camps and the thousands of people in our partner communities around the world.

We appreciate your patience, Camps International is a strong business, we will always operate with integrity and we are working hard to provide detailed answers for all concerned.

 


Statement as of: 18:30, 16th March 2020

Camps Community Update

World events continue to move rapidly, and here we endeavour to keep you up to date with the current developments concerning our strategies.  As the world grapples with the difficult challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to reach out to our global Camps community and give you a quick update.

As ever, our commitment to doing the right thing for our travellers and for our planet remains at the heart of Camps’ priorities. Please be assured that the safety of our travellers is our number one concern as we – along with the rest of the world – continue to navigate through this unique and evolving situation.

The UK Government is reacting to the changing environment and making sweeping decisions on a daily basis, which are profoundly affecting all sectors of society and daily life, including ours in the travel industry.

Decisions with respect to our travelling teams typically happen on a timescale that starts approximately a month prior to travel.  This falls in line with the regular updates of UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice, from which all stakeholders involved in delivering expeditions take their cue.  Airlines, insurers and other supply partners are only able to respond once advisories fall within an imminent travel window. So, for departures from June onwards, we continue to monitor events closely and plan scenarios accordingly.  Until we approach departure dates, we will only be able to update you on the current state of play.

As things currently stand, we are still firmly committed to delivering our summer expeditions starting in June, in collaboration with our global partner communities. Our clear intention is that, events and safety allowing, we will be in a position to run all trips and deliver on our commitment to the wide range of projects and people that our experiences impact.

We will of course communicate regularly with you and respond appropriately in-line with official guidance as the situation progresses. Therefore, at this time, we are asking all our travellers to continue to prepare for their expedition as planned.  Thank you for your ongoing patience and understanding.

As ever, if you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact our dedicated team during office hours on 01425 485390 or at [email protected].

 

 


Statement as of: 19:00, 12th March 2020

As you are undoubtedly aware, we are all facing an unprecedented challenge in the form of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

This is understandably having a profound impact globally, especially on people’s day to day lives. In light of the UK Government’s recent statement on COVID-19 this afternoon, it is obvious that the current status is a rapidly developing, dynamic situation in which we all have to react on a day to day – almost hour-to-hour – basis.

In times of uncertainty, our number one priority is the wellbeing of our travellers, our employees, our loved ones and the wider Camps community. So, we wanted to give you an update of what we are doing.

Our team has been working around the clock to ensure that our decisions are based on the most up to date information and that we cause as little disruption as possible to our clients, whilst at the same time ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the thousands of travellers that have entrusted us to look after them.

We will, of course, keep you updated on any decisions and changes that are made as soon as possible.

With regards to the current situation, we can confirm that:

  • None of our UK school trips are immediately affected by today’s UK Government advice on international school travel.
  • We have no UK school trips due to depart for another 3-4 months and therefore, this advice does not yet affect these trips.
  • If your son/daughter is booked onto one of our summer expeditions, please rest assured that we will let you know nearer the time should the Government’s advice still be in place and affect your trip.

We fully understand how anxious you may feel about your son/daughter’s upcoming trip.

As ever, if you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact us during office hours or contact one of our dedicated team at [email protected].

Thank you for your continued support and understanding.

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