I think most of us have reconciled ourselves to the fact that COVID-19, like any virus, will (although hopefully dormant) be around for the foreseeable future even though, like the ‘flu, mutations will continue; at present there are over 50 new mutations recorded.
So, what does this simple fact tell us? The only answer, unless one wants to stay locked up for ever after all the panic and disruption, is to crack on with life and start travelling again! After all, even taking COVID into account, the statistics seem to show that one is more likely to contract the virus in a western country than in a developing continent such as Africa.
Many travellers are already of this mind and, whilst Omicron was being confirmed as a mutation and circulating very rapidly in the west, quite a number of our clients (and some of our in-house specialists) were perfectly happy to travel on holiday or safari over the Christmas period, both to Africa and Asia. None tested positive at any time whilst travelling.
Of course we now know that Omicron is relatively mild and, of all those I know personally who have tested positive (here and abroad), “having COVID” has only presented itself as fatigue or cold like symptoms - and sometimes neither.
(Note, in saying the above, I don’t mean to be flippant or to play down the seriousness of a pandemic and I do of course completely understand that the effects of Covid have been dire for a large number of people. But, at the same time, I think it is essential to be factual and apply common sense rather than just reacting to media-generated panic or, indeed, the dreadful impersonal bullying of modern social-media-driven “wokeism”).
As examples of what we have achieved recently for our clients: Several have returned over the Christmas period vacations to, for example, Sri Lanka, Chile, Kenya and Tanzania. All, without fail, declared that they had the most sublime time away, travelling with their families and far preferring to be in those regions than back at home in the west!
To offer an example of extremes, the Antarctic Protocol enforces the strictest test and check systems on the planet on any visitor and we are very pleased to say that a ground-breaking six-person expedition, culminating at the South Pole, was successfully achieved and is now concluded, organised entirely by us and having departed to Antarctica, using strictest bio-security protocols, at the height of the initial flap about Omicron.
I repeat that one should not forget that private travel is utterly possible and many of our clients have taken this route, whether a private yacht, villa, island or tented camp in the middle of the savannah. I refer to my comment about private flying as well. All this ensures maximum privacy, flexibility and security (bio or otherwise) as well as utterly minimal fuss and “hassle”.
Without doubt, in my opinion, the major resistance to travel is threefold:
However, The Explorations Company smooths away your concerns, offering solutions to all of these problems. Most countries in Africa have made things relatively easy for travellers. In Asia, certain countries such as Sri Lanka and Nepal have also already made life simpler. So, how can we make life easier for you?
1. Insurance Policies: Even for those travellers who have historically eschewed insuring themselves this is a prudent course of action. We have our recommended insurance partners to assist you with arranging your policy.
2. Also, for those who are mostly concerned about a positive test happening whilst away and who would not want to self-isolate whilst away, even in a gorgeous villa, (or, probably more pertinently, must immediately return home to be able to run a business), then there is a new add-on insurance policy, Covac Global, which applies to some countries we feature (albeit it is not actually "Global"). For a small supplement, if testing positive whilst away one can be flown by private air charter immediately back to your home, thus avoiding any local isolation in-country. Frankly, for those of our clients who travel regularly and assuming the destination country is covered, this would seem a prudent option anyway in these times; do call us for details.
3. And what can we do for our travellers in a more holistic sense? At TEC we have been doing our utmost and continuing, as always, to hand-hold our clients. We go through a process of Zoom/telephone calls and emails in the period pre-departure to ensure all paperwork is up to scratch, (including all visas, vaccination documentation etc), as well as arranging PCR testing when you are abroad.
All we ask is that clients perhaps focus on the minutiae, with us, a little earlier than they might sometimes do! Apart from arranging any tests pre-departure and (currently) on return if you are in the US, which we cannot do for clients – but we can prompt!, then everything else is thought of and arranged by us. You are even met airside in most countries and escorted through immigration and any health checks. We have special contacts to clear and guide you through the queues quickly and efficiently.
4. Please remember that we can arrange private flights anywhere on the globe.
5. We have the most up to date information and keep both ourselves and our clients constantly in the loop. Our in-country suppliers undertake the same diligence, and together, we supply you with the most relevant, accurate advice.
6. We have a special app where we upload all your documentation, including your vaccination certificates if you wish to send them to us, visas and any pertinent information you may require for your trip.
7. We have maintained a highly flexible postponement throughout the pandemic.
In our ultra-tailored travel sector hospitality staff in Africa and Asia are all treated as frontline workers, meaning they are all vaccinated. In addition, you have peace of mind knowing that we only use properties of a minimum specific quality, with excellent management criteria, however remote they may be. Their protocols are incredibly stringent, in line with WHO practice.
To conclude: I am sure you are all contemplating your next vacation or holiday but, understandably, are looking for reassurance. With well over 30 years of experience of curating the finest custom, bespoke holidays, travels and expeditions you can relax, knowing that you have placed your trust in The Explorations Company who can and will make it happen on your behalf!
Please do contact me for information or advice about travel to Africa, Asia or Latin America – I would be delighted to discuss this further with you. Or if you would just like to dream for now, you can do so at our Video Library.
Images courtesy of Legendary Expeditions (background) Wolwedans Namibia (top pic), Mwiba Lodge Tanzania (photo by Scott Ramsay), Angama Mara Tented Camp Kenya, Thanda Private Island Tanzania, Pilatus Aviation, Sand Rivers Selous