ITAA asks customers to be patient with travel agency staff amid Coronavirus disruptions

13 March 2020

The ITAA have stated that counter staff are doing everything they can to assist customers whose travel plans are affected by COVID-19.

Dublin 13th March 2020    The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) is asking customers to be mindful of the pressures faced by travel agents across the country as the Coronavirus situation progresses, and to be patient and #BeKind in their interactions when dealing with travel agency staff.

Travel agents are working hard to assist customers by securing refunds and changing travel arrangements where possible. Customers are currently being prioritised based on the proximity of their bookings, with bookings made for March and April taking precedence over bookings later in the year.

John Spollen, President of the ITAA said, “This is a fast moving situation, and a stressful time for everyone. We are asking that our customers take into consideration the pressure that counter staff are under as we all navigate this difficult period. Our members are working as hard as they can to refund customers and find alternative travel arrangements, and we ask that travellers remain mindful of this when engaging with our member staff in stores and by phone.”

He continued, “ITAA members are monitoring the situation on behalf of their clients on a day to day, hour by hour basis on what is a fluid situation. The health and welfare of our customers is paramount and we are ready to advise them, updating the situation when the Department of Foreign Affairs updates us.”

The ITAA is advising travellers to read the Department of Foreign Affairs travel advice for the country they are travelling to, which includes entry requirements and a link through to download the DFA Travelwise smartphone app that provides specific travel health advice for countries. Travelwise advises that travellers currently in countries that are reporting cases of Novel Coronavirus, otherwise known as Coronavirus or COVID-19, should follow local public health advice. Travellers should keep up to date on the country advice during their visit.

The ITAA also advises that holidaymakers ensure that they have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and also obtain comprehensive travel insurance before travelling, which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation. Affected holidaymakers are advised to follow the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs, local authorities and accommodation providers.

Enhanced health screening procedures have been put in place at arrival and departure areas in many countries. Travellers should comply with these processes and take relevant preventative measures to reduce the risk of exposure.