After the financial crash of 2008/2009 IAGTO was in the forefront of the drive to ensure that all tour operator bookings were pre-paid in order to protect suppliers. Thereafter, providing credit would be a risk decision entirely up to the supplier. This was good for the industry.

Now we have a new challenge! Our research indicates that not one of the contracts between Suppliers and DMCs/Tour Operators included a provision for what happens to deposits or advance payments in the eventuality of a pandemic like COVID-19.

So, our focus must NOW be on helping our members make new bookings.

This will depend on giving consumers the confidence to pay tour operators, and giving tour operators and DMCs the confidence to pay suppliers, regarding future deposits and balance payments.

COVID-19 has become a known disease, and therefore it should be incorporated into all future contracts drawn up by suppliers.

However, many new business-to-business contracts will not take effect until 2021. For this reason, in order to give consumers and tour operators the confidence to pay deposits and advance payments for future bookings, IAGTO has taken the unprecedented step to propose an Addendum Template for existing contracts between Suppliers and Buyers.

We want first to acknowledge and thank the many IAGTO suppliers who have already amended their tour operator contracts, of which there are many. Here, we are only trying to help those who have not yet done so.

We must accept that the impact of COVID-19 on the travel business might last for many months to come until a widely available treatment, vaccine or test for immunity is available.

The first consideration of any golfer looking to book a holiday later his year or next year will be “Will I get my money back if COVID-19 prevents me from travelling?”. The golf tourism industry MUST confront this head on and take decisions now.

But of course it is not simple.

After analysing hundreds of emails and communications from IAGTO members over the past month, we have determined that there are in fact 5 different types of ‘Travel Ban’. This is important because the postponement or refund conditions must be specified for each of these five different scenarios, in order to avoid confusion.

Therefore, we recommend that before another deposit is paid, every contract be reviewed to ensure that there is absolute clarity on what will happen to deposits or balance payments should COVID-19 prevent travel in the future.

To help with this, IAGTO will provide a generic contract Addendum Template that ANY member can use to make these conditions clear.

Please note that we are not making any recommendations for Suppliers T&C – but we are saying that every supplier and DMC must make it clear what their T&C are in all 5 different types of travel ban that we have identified.

If we can do this as an industry, we can give confidence to tour operators who can then give confidence to their customers.

By Giovanni Malcotti

Inizialmente affascinato dal mondo Retail ho lavorato come consulente per Poste Italiane, Alitalia, Omnitel, Telecom, Stream ed infine in Domino Research. Poi ho scoperto il turismo, prima da avventuriero e dal 2004 è diventato il mio mantra, il mio lavoro. Ho avuto la fortuna di ricoprire ruoli manageriali in Adamello SKI, Blu Hotels, DMO di Enti pubblici. A queste esperienze ho aggiunto la passione per il golf che si è trasformata nel mio lavoro. Amo l'Italia incondizionatamente, metto tutto insieme e cerco di condividere queste competenze nel mio settore.

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