A travel agency is hoping a glowing holiday testimonial from clients rebooked to Greece after their Spain trip was cancelled at last minute will boost confidence among others to book.
Symphony World Travel in Surrey received the letter on their clients’ return from Crete with tour operator Planet Holidays, and plan to use it on social media and on its website as evidence clients can enjoy a safe holiday despite the current pandemic.
In the letter, the client admitted the family of four had been “apprehensive about travelling in the current circumstances”, with particular concerns about the flight, but “in reality needn’t have worried”.
The family flew with British Airways on August 4, ten days after the quarantine restrictions were imposed for Spain, from Heathrow to Crete, with private taxi transfers to resort, and stayed at the five-star Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas for seven nights half board in a two bedroom family suite organised by Planet Holidays.
The client described the airport experience and flight as “positive” and said they felt safe at the hotel, where sun beds were spaced out and sanitised every evening. They were given the same table each day for meals, and had the same team cleaning their room each day.
The letter said: “Everyone was very respectful of their fellow travellers and our British Airways plane was probably the cleanest plane we have ever flown on.
“Our hotel, the Elounda Beach was [at] only 30% occupancy. All staff wore masks and throughout the stay we felt safe.
“Having been stuck at home for so many weeks both my husband and I and our two teenage boys needed a change of scene. Crete was the perfect getaway. It gave us all a chance to escape the restrictions of lockdown in the UK and temporarily forget the pandemic whilst still feeling safe and maintaining social distancing.”
The family had planned to stay in a friend’s villa in Majorca, which they booked themselves, but turned to Symphony World Travel for help after the sudden change in advice to Spain at the end of July.
Agency joint owner Sim Nutt, whose colleague and fellow owner Anthony Raffaini took the booking, said: “We got a phone call after it was announced there would be quarantine restrictions for Spain.
“We suggested Elounda because we know it from personal experience and we knew they would enjoy it and it was served by easyJet and British Airways flights to Heraklion so it’s not a destination with just one flight a week.”
Nutt added: “We are hoping this letter will encourage others to book. A lot of agents are now out and about travelling too, and this is the best way to instil confidence in others. We need word to get around that is okay to travel, we want to make clients feel confident again.”
Planet Holidays commercial director Harry Kyrillou added: “Symphony World Travel know that what we recommend, we have personally vetted and this quality family holiday to Crete, delivered the high and safe standards that both the agent and their clients needed.”
Nutt admitted clients were far more nervous about travelling now because of the threat of changes to quarantine restrictions in destinations. “What we are finding is that while at the start of lockdown people were happy to rebook for next year, now everyone is unsure and has lots of issues so rebookings are not nearly as easy as they were,” added Nutt.
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