Tour operators are optimistic that travel will return on some level by fall, according to a new survey from WeTravel, a payment and booking platform for group tour operators.
The survey, which consisted of responses from 592 tour operators, was conducted in order to track the impact of COVID-19 on the industry, and it revealed that despite the immediate short-term impact on the business and tourism landscape, most operators are confident that the industry will recover by 2021—the 55% of respondents who have an negative outlook for 2020 shrinks to 21% when looking toward 2021.
Almost a third of all tour operators are bullish on 2021, the survey found, while 26% have a fair outlook and 21% said they are unsure. When asked, 44% of the respondents said they believe that the industry will recover in the next 6 to 12 months.
It also found that tour operators have had a difficult time dealing with refunds and last-minute cancellations for months—only about half of the respondents have managed to give full refunds to their travelers, while 27% are first waiting for refunds from their vendors.
ASTA has taken up the torch of pushing tour operators to honor refunds and commission policies. Earlier last month ASTA released a statement asking for them to reverse course on any retroactive changes suppliers have made to their policies and for suppliers to “do the right thing when cancellations occur that are not initiated by the consumer.”
That includes ensuring “that all travel components are fully refundable and not merely credited for future travel” and to “honor the original agency commissions on all bookings if the travel is rebooked” and, if the travel is refunded, to consider “a partial commission payment.”