The Ebola Effect: Tour Operator Amends Cancelation Policy
It's a highly unlikely event, but should health officials report a confirmed case of Ebola within 500 miles of an Austin Adventures vacation host city, the company is announcing that it will waive its trip cancelation fee.
"While we realize that the odds of Ebola affecting our itineraries are minuscule at best, we hope to assuage any fears that a guest may have by updating our cancellation policy to address this sensitive subject," said Dan Austin, President and Founder of Austin Adventures.
The adventure travel company, which offers trips to all seven continents, is applying the revised policy to all of its trips—not just those to Africa where many of its partners are also adjusting their cancelation policies. As with most tour operators, Austin Adventures' cancelation fee ranges in amount from fifteen percent to one hundred percent of the price of the trip, depending on when the trip is canceled. To avoid the cancelation fee, guests would have to cancel at least seven days prior to their scheduled departure.
The company's host cities in Africa include Arusha, Brazzaville, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Livingstone, Maun, Nairobi, and Windhoek. Brazzaville, the capital city of the Republic of the Congo, is nearest to the African countries that have reported confirmed Ebola cases, but even then it's more than three thousand miles away; this is roughly the distance between Maine and California.
On the improbable occasion that a case of Ebola is confirmed within the parameters, booked guests could either cancel their trip completely, at least seven days prior to their scheduled departure, without having to pay a cancelation fee, or they could postpone their trip and travel at a later date for the same price. In addition, Austin Adventures offers all of its guests travel insurance, and encourages travelers to obtain coverage to cover any flight cancelation fees or penalties.