Important Travel Update
by Blog Editor
Last Updated: March 26, 2020
To our valued teachers, parents and students,
As an employee-owned company comprised of educators, parents, and tour planners who have organized life-changing educational tours to the East Coast for several decades, the last few weeks have easily been the most challenging this industry has ever witnessed. Our first priority will always remain the safety and health of our youth travelers. Our second priority is giving every 2020 traveler the best tour they have ever experienced. At present, we are working around the clock, rescheduling our spring groups, ensuring they will still get to see every possible site once it is deemed safe to travel.
We are working closely with each of our affected groups to find their ideal tour date and will ensure travelers are automatically registered on the new date. We realize there will be some who are not able to make the rescheduled date; therefore, we are currently working with our vendors and a number of parties pursuing every possible avenue to make these participants as whole as possible. I know this is a difficult request, but please permit us to use our resources over the coming weeks to reschedule our spring groups. The more time we have to work through the process of refunds with vendors, sites, partners and others, the better result we can achieve for those who can no longer attend the tour.
This continually-evolving, unprecedented event has been devastating to the travel industry, especially to our partners and competitors in educational travel. Please realize that a tour planner’s work, out of pocket costs and expenses begin the moment a group signs up, which in most cases, is over a year before the tour date. Our full-time staff begins an array of bookings including: all ground and air transportation, transfer buses, hotels, restaurants, tour guides, appointments, tickets and admissions, medical and liability insurance, security assignments, and so many more. As such, careful consideration and calculation goes into the cancellation policies to be able to offer such an incredible educational tour at a reasonable price.
In our long history of running tours, we have never stranded a group or failed to take care of them in times of crisis, regardless of the costs to STA. Our family of teachers who have traveled with us for decades can attest to the days and weeks of unexpected weather and medical emergencies beyond our control and how as a company we will leave no stone unturned in providing for our groups. Obviously, no tour planner or business owner could account for a full-scale closure of their business nine months into the planning process, shutting down literally every site, vendor and partner in the tour supply chain. An event like an international pandemic that stops all commerce and causes global quarantines is a textbook example of a legal “Act of God” (or a force majeure event) in contract law.
We cannot possibly thank you enough for the outpouring of support and love from our incredible family of educators. We know what an unbelievably unsettling time this is and understand this fear of the unknown.
The founding staff of School Tours of America and our predecessor, American Student Travel, have been through quite a few historically-devastating events, and we have always persevered because of the resilient spirit of our family of educators and the valuable mission we both share. This too shall pass, and we will once again return to the work of changing students’ lives.
We humbly thank you for your trust in STA and incredible patience in this evolving situation.