Despite the huge economic impact of the Coronavirus, we want to remain cognizant of the huge public health challenge this is, and we hope you are all doing everything to reduce the spread and reduce pressure on the system. Please practice safe distancing to protect our elders and those with low immunity within our community. We hope this will bring the adventure industry together, closer than ever before.
We are glad that all of you who had trips cancelled to Nepal, Bhutan and India would like to travel again with us later this year, when things settle. And are grateful to those who are happy to wait for their next adventure. As part of a small adventure industry, we are all having an extremely difficult year and our thoughts are with the remoter communities that work in the mountains. The impact is huge, and we are hoping things will pick up soon.
But, spring is now in the air, and believe it or not, the fish are jumping. Life outside continues as nature designed it to be, the crisp air, the spring run offs and the melting snows after a big winter, are all on schedule.
We know the concerns you must be having. This is not the way we envisaged our 25th year to begin with. But, here we are. For those of you who have booked a trip that has been cancelled or affected due to regional restrictions, travel bans, advisories etc, please know that we are not invoking any cancellation charge despite having spent much on securing these arrangements. Your deposits are being held in safe custody. Yes, we cannot offer refunds as due to the scale and enormity of the expeditions we operate each year, it is just impossible and would only lead to a shutdown. So please consider your funds safe and undiminished. Services of the held amount can be availed at any time in the future.
We are working to ensure your trips run with the same standards as you have known them to be, for the summer season ahead. With this in mind, we want to reach out and touch your concerns regarding the recent Coronavirus outbreak, with a view through our prism, so your apprehensions are addressed as it concerns your plans.
The health, safety and welfare of our guests, our team of guides, staff, horsemen, porters and their families is our top priority. We are continuing to ceaselessly monitor the Coronavirus impact and are planning to run all our trips and camps. This may change if more escalation arises, or local or national travel restrictions prevent these from happening.
We will work and evaluate on each trip, but seek your help. Starting now, we have introduced screening and protocols through which we may decline services to any guest who may be ill or showing symptoms of illness ; and replace an Aquaterra team member from the journey/activity/expedition IF:
- Has traveled through a region identified by the CDC as warning level 3 in the 14 days prior to a scheduled trip
- Has been in close contact for a sustained period of time with a person known to have COVID-19 within 2 weeks before departure
- A guest or team member develops flu-like symptoms (a fever, cough, and shortness of breath) within 2 weeks before departure
These protocols necessitate self-identification and need total honesty and we seek your cooperation.
Our new Covid 19 protocols:
All our services take place in in the outdoors. Natures works with us to reduce the risk of Coronavirus. On our hiking, climbing and rafting / kayaking adventures, we have always had impeccable processes in place as you have known, including:
- A thorough camp briefing on camp safety, communal hygiene given immediately upon arrival, before beverage or food is served
- Careful food preparation and kitchen hygiene guidelines.
- Careful 3-step process for cleaning utensils with clean up detergent wash, permanganate rinse and final rinse with water
- Hand wash stations and hand sanitisers always available in dining areas
- Hand wash stations near toilets
- Regular cleaning of water faucet areas and flat surfaces.
We are adding the following as well:
- Alcohol based hand rubs at camp
- More frequent cleaning of all dining and often used surfaces like tables and serving tables
- Interior sanitizing of all vehicles. Vehicles will carry hand sanitizer and wipes to wipe down interior surfaces as needed.
We have seen many crisis, including 9/11 impacts, Ladakh and Uttarakhand floods, SARS, Ebola, recessions in Europe and USA. The learning’s from these events of the past are that is easy to be carried away and maybe distracted by the consistent information updates inundating us daily, from across the globe. We have learnt to hunker down, and come out serving our guests better than before. We will strive to do the same.
We will continue to depend on the the Government of India directives, World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as our local partners in the coming months. We believe these are the sources that we can trust, and you should too. The flood of information in social media is often off the mark, and is easy to derail us and our plans.
We are working to keep our guests informed about each trip / expedition / camp / Atali holiday or if it pertains to your late summer or monsoon journey. We are very happy to speak to you, do not hesitate to write or call us. We are teleworking till the month end, but email us with your phone number and preferred time for a chat, and we will call you back.
In Denmark, adventure travellers have started buying gift certificates to confirm post Corona bookings at the suffering businesses and places, they would like that much to ensure their still being around after the distancing.
So, please help the outdoor providers and don’t feel shy making a post Corona booking – you get a 15% off on every trip booked between now and end April 2020.
We look forward to the adventures this summer and look forward to seeing you.
Guiding adventure travel since 1992