COVID19: Travel agents ask holidaymakers to wait for refunds

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Cyprus travel agents are asking clients who have cancelled holiday packages due to travel restrictions worldwide to stem the spread of novel coronavirus, to show patience and understanding.

As airlines cancel flights due to lockdown of airports across the globe, the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents has asked clients wanting cash refunds, to give them time as they will have to negotiate with tour operators.

In a statement issued on Thursday, ACTA reassured the public that they are working on solving issues raised with cancellations, either by rescheduling holiday packages, offering discount vouchers or refunding money which will take time.

ACTA also said that it is doing its best in trying to repatriate Cypriot citizens stranded abroad, without any gain for tour operators.

“It is imperative to maintain social cohesion by protecting jobs and staying calm. We are confident that the measures taken by the government will soon bear fruit and we will soon be able to return to our daily lives,” the statement said.

In previous comments to the Financial Mirror, Vassilis Stamataris, Chairman of ACTA, said Cyprus travel agents will need the support of the state if they are to survive.

“On top of a reduction in air services globally, there have been conference cancellations, and cancelled package holidays.”

He said Cyprus tour operators are responsible for 70% of incoming tourism and 100% for outgoing.

Losses are currently running above €30 mln from the collapsed sales.

Stamataris said many of ACTA’s 200 or so members were trying to figure out ways to stay afloat with one of the measures being “lay-offs”.

“Unfortunately, it appears that several travel agencies will stop operating, which will be a major blow for Cyprus tourism.”

Cyprus will enforce a flight ban from March 21.