Please find International Friends policies regarding COVID19 below. We hope this answers your questions about our response to COVID19, but please feel free to contact us if you have a question not answered in the collapsible sections below. Please note our response times may be longer than normal.
Update 3rd August 2020
3/8/20 - Limited products now operating (see below), most operations paused until 14 August
20/7/20 - No change from previous update 9th July 2020
9/7/20 - Pause in operations extended to 31st July 2020
29/6/20 - No change from previous update 8th June
22/6/20 - Pause in operations extended to 17th July from 10th July
We would like to reassure all customers that the health and safety of International Friends customers and staff during this unprecedented period is our number one priority. The situation here is monitored daily, and updates will be provided on this page on a weekly basis, next update Monday 10th August.
International Friends Operations
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and worldwide travel restrictions we have now extended our pause in operations until 14th August 2020 for the vast majority of products. The only exception being a small number of private tours, taxi transfers and Downton Abbey options which we are able to offer. Our main office has now closed, but we do have a team of staff working from home. During this period we are experiencing an extremely high number of phone calls and emails, but please rest assured our team will reply to any emails as quickly as possible. During this period, we recommend contacting us by email as opposed to by telephone.
If you have a booking with International Friends
FOR TOURS DEPARTING UP UNTIL 14th AUGUST 2020 - We are offering change of date or full refunds on all day trips, taxis, overnight tours/packages, shore excursions and cruise transfers. The only exception are day trips which include entry to Highclere Castle. Unfortunately due to Highclere Castle terms and conditions they are not refunding for any tickets purchased. However, we have decided for all bookings with entry to Highclere Castle up until 9th May we will refund in full.
For all bookings 10th May to 31st July 2020 we are currently offering two options:
1. We will refund in full minus the cost of the Highclere Castle entry ticket. To replace the entry ticket cost we will provide all customers with an International Friends travel voucher which can be used at any time up until December 2022, for travel on any product with International Friends.
2. A date change free of charge to any International Friends product from 1st August 2020 up until 31st December 2022. If you are unsure when you would like to travel we can also apply your payment as a future travel credit to be used by December 2022. You can then re-book at a later date based on availability at the time of booking.
FOR TOURS DEPARTING FROM 1 AUGUST 2020
Normal terms and conditions currently apply.
CRUISE/SHORE EXCURSIONS & TRANSFERS 2020
If your cruise ship cancels for any date in 2020 we will immediately offer a change of date or full refund. This applies to all bookings up until November 2020.
Please note these policies are subject to change at any time and do not apply retroactively for bookings cancelled prior to Monday 6th April 2020.
If you have any questions or queries regarding the above, or any International Friends product please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]
GTI Travel Group Ltd - Leaders in travel for visitors to Britain
International Friends Safety Policy for Covid-19 has been designed taking account of key guidelines and information from three key sources:
- World Travel & Tourism Council ‘Safe Travels’ initiative
- UK government advice on travelling in Britain
- Working closely with our key partners (e.g. tourist attractions) and staff (guides, drivers).
We have been awarded the "We're Good To Go" mark. This is the official UK mark to signal that a tourism business has worked hard to implement procedures in line with Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, and has a process in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing.
KEY OBJECTIVE – TO ENSURE THE SAFETY, HEALTH AND ENJOYMENT FOR ALL INTERNATIONAL FRIENDS CUSTOMERS AND STAFF
To meet our Key Objective, our planning and delivery has been broken down into 3 areas:
1. STAFF AND OPERATIONAL PREPAREDNESS
We have developed a COVID-19 prevention plan including an action/checklist for infection prevention, and a special cleaning and disinfection plan.
- Protocols and guidelines are in place for staff health, including health checks for staff if required.
- Office layout has been re-designed to ensure staff keep their physical distance, and we have limited the number of staff in common back-of-house areas where possible.
- Protocols in place to minimise physical contact. Physical distancing protocols have been implemented.
- Personal protection equipment (PPE) is available to all staff, such as masks and hand sanitisers.
- We have worked closely with all suppliers and partners, including tourist attractions, restaurants, hotels and transport partners, to ensure they follo likeminded health and hygiene protocols and guidelines to protect all International Friends guests.
- A COVID-19 contingency plan is in place should new cases emerge, in collaboration with destinations, suppliers and partners.
- All cleanliness and disinfection best practices have been validated by expert bodies, health authorities and governmental institutions.
- Different options for operations have been explored to ensure the customer health and safety risk is as low as possible. Areas explored and implemented include smaller groups, timed entries for attractions and empty seat policies.
2. REBUILDING TRUST & CONFIDENCE: OUR PROMISE TO YOU
- We will provide clear, consistent and up-to-date communication to all customers on health & hygiene protocols.
- All suppliers to implement clear signage to inform guests of the enhanced cleaning protocols, avoiding physical contact, and recommendations
- We will share guest guidelines ahead of your day trip, tour or transfer and where applicable in person upon commencement of trip.
- Inform all guests about support available if questions or concerns arise prior to your travel with International Friends.
3. DELIVERING A SAFE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
- All vehicles used are deep cleaned and disinfected daily.
- Masks and hand sanitiser products will be made available to all guests on all vehicles.
- Empty seat policy. The maximum capacity on all scheduled day trips, tours and transfers will be limited. This is to ensure empty seats will be left between individual travellers and couples/groups.
- All attractions and restaurants pre-booked to ensure timed entry allowing for strict control of overall numbers present at any time.
- Established with partners and suppliers that they follow likeminded health, sanitation, disinfection and hygiene protocols aligned with local regulation.
Wonderful Customer Service
"While I unfortunately was not able to take this tour (yet), I wanted to share my great experience with this company. When Princess canceled our summer cruise, this company was quick to refund my money, no questions asked. Their customer service was extremely responsive to emails and a delight to work with. I will definitely be booking them in the future when I am able to take the cruise." Tripadvisor traveller Casey W, May 2020
"We were so disappointed that our trip to London was canceled due to COVID-19. The highlight of the trip was going to be our WB Harry Potter tour and trip to Oxford with International Friends. A special thanks to International Friends for handling the pandemic so graciously and quickly refunding our money. We'll be back and book our tour as soon as we safely can!!" Tripadvisor traveller Chandi K, May 2020
"Even though I didn't take this tour, all of my interactions with International Friends were excellent. Their customer service is extraordinary!" Tripadvisor traveller Joan R, May 2020