Updated 07 July 2020 17:00 PM.
Dragoman’s Re-emergence – ‘Where There’s A Wheel There’s A Way’
In the last few months, Dragoman has entered a phase of hibernation; our white and orange trucks are all safely parked up, our crew and clients safely returned from destinations all over the world and we have a skeleton team working remotely. This hibernation has been a prudent way of getting through the crisis presented to us by the Pandemic. Thankfully, we came into it in a strong financial position and we have been lucky that many of our fantastic clients have been happy to transfer onto future departures, making it possible to now plan for our re-emergence.
We may not be certain when those wheels will definitely start rolling, but we are confident that “where there’s a wheel, there's a way!” Dragoman’s pledge is that we will begin again as soon as conditions allow, and we are now ready for it, and so excited to get going again.
In terms of operations, we are planning a reduced version of our programme for now. This will be across all three continents starting later in 2020 but we hope to expand back up to near full strength by the end of 2021. This will most likely begin with Patagonia, India, Ethiopia and East Africa and expand through to the Andes, other parts of Africa and the Silk Route, China and Mongolia. However, because this is such a fast moving situation, we are monitoring the situation carefully in each country. This will mean that we are ready to go as soon as it is safe to do so.
If you are booked on a trip in 2020, don’t despair yet as we are now seeing the green shoots of recovery beginning to emerge. Many countries are desperately seeking ways of encouraging visitors back and we are very excited to announce that we have launched a new programme through Turkey in September and October and this truck should be able to run some of our Georgia and Turkey scheduled programmes right through to November.
Transferring to Future Departures And Making New Bookings
We are currently contacting all those who are booked onto trips where balances are due soon, to talk through all the options. Things are constantly changing and so we are trying to do this on an individual trip basis. As you can imagine, this is keeping a small team extremely busy, and so your patience is welcomed and appreciated. However if you do need to contact us, please do so by emailing us on email@example.com
Financial Protection & Travellers Confidence Toolkit
We have cast-iron financial protection through ABTOT and the strength of our trade organisations ABTA and AITO behind us. We have coupled this with a Traveller’s Confidence Toolkit which includes flexible deposits, a later balance due date and flexible no transfer charges that will ensure you can make a booking with complete confidence and transfer your trip easily. We will also be honouring the price that you booked at if you transfer to a trip to a departure in late 2020 or 2021.
Safe Travel & Covid Insurance
We are looking at all our health and safety procedures to ensure that we are able to operate as safely as possible, given the constraints of group travel in the areas that we visit. Clearly, there is no 100% certainty in keeping travellers safe from Covid, but we can ensure that we follow all the guidance to enable us to minimise the risk. We will look at adding extra tents and we will develop a Covid health and safety audit, which will be a partnership with you, our clients, adopting a code of conduct in order to travel safely. Crucially, from July, we will have travel insurance available that covers not just medical and repatriation, but also trip cancellation and curtailment cover.
Like virtually all other operators who do get through this crisis, we will have to be a smaller organisation to begin with. We are deeply saddened to have to lose some of our really valuable colleagues, both at our HQ and out on the road. This is an immensely hard situation, because at Dragoman, our team are not just staff or crew; we are all good friends and part of a true Dragoman family. We are hoping however, that this is not a permanent parting of the ways and that as soon as we are able we will get back up to full strength again.
It has also meant that, for the time being, we have had to temporarily close our sales base in Australia. For the next six to twelve months, our UK HQ will service Australia, New Zealand, as well as, Europe and North America. So wherever you are in the world you will be able to contact us at:
Phone UK: +44 1728 861133
Or check out our full contact details page on our website.
We are extremely proud of Dragoman’s heritage, our company values and our 39 years in business and we are looking forward to really celebrating our 40th year in style. We would like to say a few thank yous … to our staff and crew for their massive loyalty and constantly smiling faces, despite all; to our suppliers overseas for their constant emails and encouragement, we so want to be bringing people back to you; to AITO, the best trade body that any travel company could ever be part of; to ABTA, for the constant flow of information; to ABTOT for providing the reassurance to us and our travellers of financial protection; and of course, to all our customers for sticking by us in the worst of times. We know this has not been easy and we are so sorry if we have disappointed some of you. Keep talking to us and please be reassured that we are doing everything possible to enable you to travel safely with us again.
There is one final thank you and that is to ALL the staff of the British National Health Service. As a token of our appreciation for this amazing set of people we have decided to put together a 10 day trip to Georgia, free of charge (excluding flights) for NHS staff. Why Georgia? Because airfares are affordable and because it is truly amazing! When and how we organise this, is still uncertain, but one thing we know is that sometime in the next couple of years, there will be a truck full of nurses, porters, cleaners, doctors etc travelling around Georgia on a Dragoman truck.
Of course we will keep you all updated, as and when we are more certain of exact details.
Take care and let’s look forward to getting those wheels rolling.
All the best
Charlie Hopkinson and George Durie