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Coronavirus plays havoc with Hillites' travel plans

Tuesday, 17th March, 2020

Coronavirus has played havoc with Hillites’ plans to travel overseas with the local Helloworld having to deal with a large number of cancellations at the moment Coronavirus has played havoc with Hillites’ plans to travel overseas with the local Helloworld having to deal with a large number of cancellations at the moment

By Emily McInerney

Helloworld Broken Hill has been inundated with cancellations of holidays after the announcement of mandatory self-quarantine after any overseas trips.

Manager Cheryl Cuy said she and her staff were working around the clock to get refunds for locals.

If you’re travelling or returning to Australia, you’ll now be required to self-isolate for 14 days. 

This applies to all travellers, including Australian citizens.

All cruise ships which have sailed from a foreign port have been banned from entering Australian ports for 30 days.

This is in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

“We have been inundated with cancelled holidays,” Mrs Cuy said yesterday.

“Anyone booked in for March and April holidays have all cancelled; some people have transferred to later in the year,” she said.

“We’re working with airlines to try and get refunds.

“Every airline, coach service and wholesaler has different regulations on what they will give back.

“I was on hold with a wholesaler for two hours the other day.

“It’s just chaos. People want to know what will happen and what to do.”

Mrs Cuy said holidays for May, June and July were pending.

“We’re just taking it day-to-day as more regulations come out.

“People are overseas now who will have to self-quarantine.

“They were trying to get back on earlier flights but there were no seats.

“Locals had trips to the UK and Bali booked and a few weeks ago said they would still be going but now they can’t.

“The self-quarantining is putting people off because they don’t have enough holidays to have the extra two weeks off.”

Mrs Cuy said one coach company had cancelled all their Europe tours.

“Europe, Canada and parts of the US have closed tourist attractions, so some companies don’t see the point if people can’t see anything.”

Mrs Cuy said all locals were very understanding but companies had been hit and miss.

“Some airline operators have been really good but some have been painful.

“Some will transfer flights but most are losing fees.

“But locals all understand what the situation is.

“I just feel sad and sorry for them, especially people who have booked for a holiday two years in advance.

“Now everything is up in the air. We’ve got processes until the end of April but after that we don’t know.”

Mrs Cuy said some people may be inclined to book holidays in Australia now.

“Unfortunately, coronavirus is still in Australia.

“People might just be more likely to stay put.”

In all her years as a travel agent and agency owner, Mrs Cuy said she had never dealt with anything like this.

“In my career this is the worst we’ve ever had.

“We worked through the SARS virus and Zika virus; both of those lasted about a month but this is definitely the worst spread we have seen.

“It has not been a good year.

“Hopefully all of these precautions will help stop the spread.”

The Smart Traveller Australian website advises people to reconsider any overseas travel arrangements.

“You may be more exposed to contracting COVID-19 while travelling overseas,” it states on the website.

“You may come in contact with more people than usual, including during long-haul flights and in crowded airports. 

“Health care systems in some countries will come under strain and may not be as well-equipped as Australia’s.

“If you’re sick, you may not have your normal support networks.”

They also advise that overseas travel has become more complex and unpredictable. 

“Many countries are introducing entry or movement restrictions. 

“These are changing often and quickly. Your travel plans may be disrupted. 

“You may be placed in quarantine or denied entry to some countries.”

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