Many travelers have their dream holidays ruined by unscrupulous tour operators that cancel group departures because they haven't signed up enough passengers to make the trip profitable.
To encourage bookings and gain the trust of travelers, a growing number of tour companies are skirting around this issue by offering what they are calling “Definite Departures.” But the devil is in the fine print, warns Albatross Tours of Australia.
"As reassuring as this sounds, only a limited percentage of their overall departures attract this apparent 'guarantee', and even those 'definite' departures are by no means certain," warns Euan Landsborough, Managing Director, Albatross Tours.
Pictured: Beynac on the River Dordogne in France, Courtesay of Albatross Tours.
Read the Fine Print
"Travelers who read the fine print will learn that these operators can still cancel a tour at the drop of a hat. When Aussie's have planned a trip half way around the world and parted with their hard earned cash, this is a huge disappointment – not to mention a blow to their hip pocket."
Albatross Tours is offering that it calls “totally transparent 'Guaranteed Group Departures'. “ This means that every one of its tours is guaranteed to depart with as few as seven passengers.
Travel agents have given the programme the thumb's up.
"We book our clients tours in good faith that they will be departing,” says Leanda Blank, a travel agent from West Coast Tours and Travel in Perth, Australia.
“I've had as many as 23 passengers canceled by one tour operator in one year. When tours are canceled it creates a lot of stress for our clients and is costly exercise for us to rectify. Our repeat business is built on our reputation for being, reliable and easy to book with – when tour operators cancel, it reflects badly on us as a business."