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Monday, May 25, 2020

Travel companies do their best to lift morale from the coronavirus outbreak

The world of travel is in turmoil right now, but hoteliers, tour operators and transportation companies are making great efforts to help Britons stranded abroad or in need of help at home.

Others offer accommodation, food and online advice as we gather to fight the global crisis.

A full refund

Budget ski specialist Action Outdoors has so far brought 2,500 customers free of charge from the French Alps this month and has reimbursed them for their holidays

Budget ski specialist Action Outdoors has so far brought 2,500 customers free of charge from the French Alps this month and has reimbursed them for their holidays

As countless holidays are abandoned, canceled or postponed, some tour operators have stepped up to offer customers a full, no-quibble cash refund rather than a voucher for future travel.

Budget ski specialist Action Outdoors has so far brought 2,500 customers free of charge from the French Alps this month and has reimbursed them for their holidays.

“It is painful for us,” says director David Robertson, “but with people losing their jobs and income, refunding could make a huge difference in the coming weeks.”

Others are diverting any cancellation fees for good reasons. Forever Cornwall, a Truro-based cottage rental company, has made a commitment to transfer the April booking fees to its independent employees (action-outdoors.co.uk, forevercornwall.co.uk).

Rescue flights

Twenty Titan Travel customers were part of aviation history when they arrived at Heathrow on Wednesday after a nearly 17-hour direct Qantas flight from Darwin.

Forced to leave halfway through the 30-day tour, £ 6,699 per person, accompanied by Grand Tour Of Australia, the group had to travel the pioneering route due to transit restrictions in Singapore.

In the past two weeks, the tour operator has repatriated more than 100 customers from distant destinations such as California, Brazil, South Africa and Malaysia. Refunds are on a proportional basis (titantravel.co.uk).

Care packages

Passengers on the Fred Olsen Braemar cruise ship, which flew to Heathrow last week, were greeted with packages of essential items donated by companies such as Costa Coffee, Kettle Chips and Twinings.

The ocean liner spent three days in the Bahamas before Cuba allowed rescue flights from Havana, allowing 682 travelers to return home on planes chartered by British Airways (fredolsencruises.com).

Support the SSN

Short-term specialists such as UnderTheDoormat, onefinestay and LoveHomeSwap are making properties close to London hospitals free for NHS staff.

In Spain, Casa Higueras, a boutique B&B near Granada, will grant short free breaks to hospital workers once travel restrictions are lifted – colleagues and friends are invited to nominate on their behalf (nhshomes.com, casa-higueras.com).

The hotels reach

Pig hotels offer free eggs and vegetables from their organic gardens to nearby villages

Pig hotels offer free eggs and vegetables from their organic gardens to nearby villages

Across the UK, hoteliers have donated essential food and supplies to assist homes and the needy. In the southwest, The Pig Hotels provides free eggs and vegetables from their organic gardens to nearby villages, while staff at Bespoke Hotels and Hand Picked Hotels have distributed cream cakes and teas for the morale of local hospitals.

In Italy, the five-star Grand Hotel Tremezzo on Lake Como canceled a sumptuous party for the 110th anniversary in July and is instead setting the budget for fans and vital medical equipment (thepighotel.com, bespokehotels.com, handpickedhotels.co .uk, grandhoteltremezzo. com).

What about the future?

Many of us are still keen to travel – a survey by additional specialist Holiday Extras found that one in four has a flight or vacation lined up for when the pandemic ends. Operators such as jet2.com and easyJet are selling flights and holidays for this winter, while long-haul specialist Kuoni says that “a steady stream” of people is asking for honeymoon and tour news for 2021.

The travel industry may have knocked, but no one is giving up on exploring this wonderful world (holidayextras.co.uk, kuoni.co.uk).

… and for children

Create a castle

Creative: Dromoland Castle in Ireland offers online craft lessons

Creative: Dromoland Castle in Ireland offers online craft lessons

Dromoland Castle, a magnificent hotel in County Clare, Ireland, teamed up with artist Una Heaton to offer an online craft lesson on how to make a toy castle using materials from all over the house (youtu.be/JJIufgi6cmsxx).

Play astronauts

Children learning French can improve their language skills while learning what it is like to live in a space station, thanks to a new online activity created by the Cité de l’Espace scientific discovery center in Toulouse, France (cite-espace. com / astronaut-chez-soi).

Free art lessons

Do you have a budding artist at home? The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, United States, offers free online lessons dedicated to portraits, the press, films, and more (warhol.org/lessons).

Write to a loved one

The TouchNote card sending app invites new subscribers to publish a personalized postcard, with a support message, anywhere in the world. Download in Android or IOS, then enter the promo code KINDNESS20.

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