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A new survey of 592 small-to-medium-sized tour operators shows that almost 40% of small operators have postponed trips to October-December 2020, while 30% plan to postpone trips to 2021.
As a result, operators are predicting significantly less revenue for 2020 — up to 50% less than 2019, according to more than half of the respondents. Ten percent of respondents predict a revenue decrease of at least 90%, while 21% of operators are just not sure how the coronavirus pandemic will affect their revenue.
The survey also asked respondents about their ability to issue refunds. While 27% of operators are waiting for refunds from their own vendors, almost half of operators were able to issue full refunds to travelers.
According to WeTravel, “only 39% of vendors are willing to give full refunds to tour operators, while 11% are not willing to refund at all or even reschedule."
We are asking for cooperation from our vendors to renegotiate our payments. Only if we do this together, will the industry survive.
Tour operators in this situation are offering travel credits or asking for an extended time period to issue refunds. More than half of operators have a negative outlook for the second half of 2020, but only 22% view 2021 negatively — with almost a third of respondents saying they have a positive outlook for 2021.
Nearly half of the respondents believe it will take the industry 6-12 months to recover.
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"COVID-19 has given tour operators challenges that the industry has never experienced before, as shown by these survey results,” said Zaky Prabowo, CMO and co-founder of WeTravel. “We need governmental bodies to make policies and provide financial assistance. We are asking for support from travelers by accepting travel vouchers or rescheduling their trips instead of asking for refunds. We are asking for cooperation from our vendors to renegotiate our payments. Only if we do this together, will the industry survive.”