Albatross Tours, A Bright Future
Let us step back barely 6 weeks, to mid-April. Along with my business partner and friend Steve Hornby (Group CEO), we wrote a Statement about the Financial Stability and Security of Albatross Tours Australia and the Albatross Group of companies. In that letter, we outlined our corporate strength, our financial resilience, and our enormous thanks to all of you who have supported us and trusted us through this ‘global travel mess’. (whatever you want to call it!)
None of that has changed. We wrote:
“As soon as the true impact of coronavirus became apparent, we undertook significant measures to maintain cash flow and control costs in order to weather what is likely to be a prolonged restriction on international travel and tourism.
Some of the steps we took had a direct impact on the lives and livelihoods of many of our people. This was very distressing, but necessary, to secure the future of the business with our brand and culture intact, so that once again we will be able to create remarkable memories that last a lifetime for our travellers.”
Was that really just 6 weeks ago?
Since then, so much has changed and so much has been learned and become clearer. On one hand we witness vast personal tragedy, both within Australia and across the entire planet. On the other hand, we detect the beginnings of travel optimism and people asking… ‘when’, not ‘if’. Yes, so many of you are planning on travelling again, already.
So, this seems a very appropriate time to give you an update on what we are doing and how we have been actively planning and already investing in the future - your future - our future.
Whilst we have been forced to make some difficult decisions to protect the business, including ‘letting go’ of a number of our wonderful and valued staff, we have been able to keep the remaining team strong and working hard on re-building that shared future. They have been very busy finalising our Summer 2021 touring programmes. This involves securing space and inclusions with hundreds of hotels and suppliers in multiple languages across Europe. And because we choose to stay in unique and personal, smaller hotels this is obviously even more time consuming.
But it is done! And the good news is that our 2021 departure dates are out now, and ready for you to register your place. We’re not quite ready to release prices yet. We like to deal in certainties, and in this very volatile world we would rather wait until we have negotiated the best possible rates and exchange rates have settled. Then it will be the right time for us to confirm prices. We expect this to be in September.
Have a look at the departure dates on our website. You will notice there are not as many tour departures as we offered in 2020. This makes a lot of sense as, in this current environment, we feel promoting a larger list of dates is not really viable and therefore not a responsible move. As I said, we like to deal in certainties and the last thing anyone wants is more tour cancellations. We know a large number of you will be eager to come to Europe with Albatross in 2021, we also know a good number will hold back a while, maybe to 2022. So, therefore, we feel it is prudent and fair to you that we release a sensible number of departures, and make sure they run - remember our group sizes are usually much smaller and we run them on lower numbers.
Fewer departures means space is limited. So, if you are looking at joining us in 2021, I suggest you register your preferred departure date now. This registration is not a firm commitment, it simply secures your place and avoids potential disappointment. You can of course always change your departure date, subject to availability.
Did you have an Oberammergau Passion Play booking for 2020?
We have also been busy preparing for 2022. We work many months and often years in advance and so, immediately following the postponement of the Passion Play this year, we began liaising with the Passion Play Office in Oberammergau regarding 2022. Arrangements have now been made and we have committed deposits to re-book virtually the same number of departures that we originally offered for travel in 2020!
Even better news is that we now have our preferred departure dates and will be releasing them in a few weeks. We will be in contact with you when that happens to give you the opportunity to lock in your preferred travel date immediately.
So much happening, so much time being invested, and at last we have good things to talk about.
Albatross Tours is part of a privately-owned and financially independent travel group and we take our responsibilities, particularly when it comes to looking after client money, seriously. We are investing sensibly in rebuilding Albatross Tours for the future, but we are not using any client funds keeping the business going. All client deposits are held in a separate, externally audited, Client Account.
Some might say it must feel good to be back, but I say, we never went anywhere! And it should be comforting for you to know that we certainly wouldn’t be investing time and money if we weren’t absolutely sure Albatross didn’t have a big, bright and wonderful future. And we do.
I look forward to welcoming you all aboard one of our unique small group tours very soon.
Euan Landsborough, ‘The Mo’
Managing Director, Albatross Tours