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Bellbird Tours Update

Tours starting in July & August 2020

Tours starting September 1st 2020 or later

New tour bookings for 2020 and beyond

Official Advice and Updates on travel to and within Australia

Update from Bellbird Tours Pty Ltd – 20th May 2020

These are difficult times for everyone and we hope this message finds you and your communities fit and well.

We will only operate our tours if your trip will be safe, viable and within the relevant government guidelines for travel during this virus outbreak. We are in touch regularly with all the relevant authorities to try and safeguard the health of our guests, staff and the local communities where we operate. When deciding if tours can continue at this time these are not decisions we make lightly, and we will try to keep booked tours running whenever its possible whilst also being mindful of ensuring our business survives for staff and future guests.

Australia is currently not accepting international arrivals into the country. This is not expected to change for the remainder of 2020. If you are an international guest and have booked onto one or more of our tours please read on below. For our Australian guests, you may be aware that some states now allow limited travel and some states allow unlimited travel, within their states. Government guidance is still asking everyone to observe social distancing requirements (generally, 1.5 m between persons). Accommodation providers and restaurants are starting to re-open. Borders between some states remain closed in many places. This affects how we can run our tours as many tours cross state borders. We are hopeful that border closures will soon start relaxing and will update you at that point.

We will review the status of tours due to start on or after 1st July, at the end of May and will advise all customers on whether or not their tour can go ahead, depending on the government advice, travel restrictions and the practicalities of operating the tour at that time. This reviewing process will continue for bookings later in the year meaning we will be in touch with you having reviewed your tour 4 weeks ahead of its anticipated start date to see if it can go ahead.

As the current situation is causing a significant financial impact to our business we are reducing staff time to the bare minimum only. If you phone us on 1800-birding, we may not be able to take your call immediately, but please leave a message and we’ll get back to you. And we will continue to monitor emails and are always available to respond to any questions or issues that you email to us on birds@bellbirdtours.com

Our priority at this time will always be health – yours, ours and those you interact with during your tour. Please continue to check back here for updates.

If you are due to start your tour in July or August 2020

It will only be possible for your tour to go ahead if the state borders open. We will then implement certain practical changes to the tour to comply with social distancing requirements and other health provisions where possible to do so. We will review the status of tours due to start on or after 1st July, at the end of May and will advise all customers on whether or not their tour can go ahead, depending on the government advice, travel restrictions and the practicalities of operating the tour at that time. This reviewing process will continue for bookings later in the year meaning we will be in touch with you having reviewed your tour 4 weeks ahead of its anticipated start date to see if it can go ahead.

The Australian Government through its ACCC agency has instructed that for any tours we are unable to run we are required to provide a credit note to the value of all of your payments to date. This will be valid for the next 2 years to use against rebooking the same tour or a different one. Credit Notes are non-transferable and will be emailed to you upon request. If you want to rebook on the exact same scheduled tour for later in the year or next year then we will simply transfer your booking to the new date and we will also maintain your April, May or June 2020 price regardless of any potential price increases. If you want to wait and see we will issue you with your credit note to be put towards any future Bellbird-branded tour(s) for the next 2 years at the advertised price of that particular tour(s).

If you prefer to pursue a refund now then you should contact your Travel Insurance Company and ask to claim back your payments. This may be because you are unable to travel to your destination where your country has banned overseas travel or if you have health issues that prevent you travelling. Make sure you ask to claim under Travel Disruption and / or Cancellation clauses as some insurers are wrongly advising that you have to have caught the virus to be eligible. We can provide a letter for your insurers confirming you have cancelled along with details of our Terms and Conditions and a summary of what you have paid.

If you are due to start your tour on September 1st or later

We will not cancel or postpone your tour bookings without telling you but we will assess whether or not your tour can go ahead 4 weeks before you are due to start your tour and get in touch with you at that point. If roads, accommodation and cafes and restaurants are closed, there is a ban on all but essential travel or a ‘lockdown’ we will need to cancel or postpone your tour. We will however do our best to make your tour work if it’s possible for you to travel here and bird with us under the latest Government advice and instructions. We will implement certain practical changes to the tour to comply with social distancing requirements and other health where possible to do so.

If you are due to pay your balance payment then we would advise you to only do this if we have confirmed with you that your tour will go ahead. If you decide to cancel your tour earlier than the 4 week point then this will be a cancellation by you and will be subject to our usual terms and conditions. You will forefeit your deposit but may be able to claim it back from your insurance company but please check before cancelling.

New tour bookings for 2020 and beyond

Until further notice we have halved the deposit required for new tour bookings from 20% to 10%. Deposits are subject to our usual terms and conditions which can be found here. In summary, in almost all circumstances your deposit is fully refundable (minus a small admin fee) should you decide to cancel up to 75 days before departure. After that point in time, if there are still government restrictions causing us to be unable to run your tour, we are required to provide you with a credit note to the value of all of your payments as described above.

Offer valid for bookings received from 01-Apr-2020 on all tours. Valid until further notice.

Official Advice on Travel to Australia and where to get it

Keep an eye on the advice at the Australian Government Department of Health or your country’s equivalent for up to date advice on any areas of Australia that have a travel exclusion or that your government is advising you to avoid. You will find the latest official government advice on travel and staying healthy on the following website:

Australia – https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-travellers

If you want more up to date information about what the Australian Government is currently doing to deal with the virus this can be found on this link. This is updated daily and is the official Australian position – https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/government-response-to-the-covid-19-outbreak

Once in Australia we advise our guests to keep up to date with National News programs and follow local advice. We will be ready to help you once you have started your trip if any restrictions prevent your trip running as planned

Finally all of us at Bellbird Tours want to thank all those in the medical and health services and associated organisations who selflessly put themselves in danger to look after the rest of us.