With travelling divers naturally reluctant to pay deposits on holidays they can no longer be sure will go ahead because of the COVID-19 pandemic, one long-established dive operator was early to announce that it had taken steps to remove the risk.
Emperor Divers has a large fleet of liveaboards operating in the Red Sea, Maldives and Indonesia, and its simple solution was to allow guests to hold spaces on its boats without needing to pay a deposit.
Whether booking direct or through a preferred tour operator, it said it was prepared to hold any available date from 1 July, 2020 onwards.
Once the current travel bans had been lifted and “normal service returns”, it said that guests would be required to pay a deposit of £180pp and the final balance at the usual time.
Should the guest decide not to proceed with the booking at that point for any reason, Emperor would cancel the place at no cost.
There could still be pressure to find a desired slot: “Because our lives have been ‘paused’ by COVID-19, many 2020 bookings have rebooked for late 2020 and into 2021,” warned Emperor. But it said it hoped that its offer would help divers to be able to plan ahead and hold a place without risk.
UK tour operator Scuba Travel followed suit in early April when it introduced £0 deposits on selected future holidays, so that divers would “have something to look forward to”.
“Once your destination is given the green light by the UK FCO, we will be in touch to re-confirm your trip and take your deposit as normal,” it said, though if by then you could no longer take the holiday you would be able to release your place with no penalty.