ROCS TRAVEL NEWS UPDATE - JUNE 24TH 2020

24 June 2020

ROCS TRAVEL NEWS UPDATE!
SUMMER GROUPS & INDIVIDUAL TRAVEL

Dear Esteemed Clients,

In view of the latest announcement by the authorities that the travel ban will be (partially) lifted as from July 1st onwards, we have a few updates to share with you.

This pandemic which has hit the world is unprecedented, it has shown the vulnerability of our society. None of us could ever foresee the damage that this worldwide calamity could create. No one is indifferent to the effects of this pandemic and neither is ROCS.

On a more positive note our IATA licence, which recognizes ROCS as one of the very few local Triple A-rated agencies, obliges us to follow strict procedural requirements, which are back to back with the various suppliers whom we work with. This means that the airlines are mainly the ones who lay the rules. The same as we are obliged to follow rules laid by cruise-lines and all land partners accordingly. One of the conditions imposed on us as IATA accredited agents are that we are obliged to immediately pass on clients’ money to suppliers. During the past 23 years, hence since the very start of our travel division, ROCS has meticulously always followed such instructions so as to make sure that once clients chose to travel with ROCS, they have peace of mind that their money is transferred that same day to suppliers both local and foreign, hence we immediately book your seats on the plane, your cabin on the cruise ship, and your room in the chosen hotel together with all ancillary services booked at our agencies.

Being the largest leisure travel tour operator on the island, handling an average of 25,000 – 30,000 clients a year has in a way worked to our disadvantage during COVID. We say this, as obviously we have had much more clients to tackle than any other travel company in Malta. Therefore one can understand that the load in the past 3 months on our travel team has been an enormous one, and cannot be compared to anyone else’s. As a general rule, all travel and tour operating companies in Malta offer different products and hence cater to different clients. One simply cannot put all agents in one basket and compare decisions taken by the smaller agents and equate them with decisions which need to be taken by a company like ROCS.

To add to this, as many know in the past years, ROCS has been renowned as the company offering the very best package prices in Malta. This was due to our purchasing power, due to large volumes of clients opting to travel with ROCS. Therefore most of the travel business, different from the other travel companies in Malta is prepaid business, hence packages, as a general rule, are all fully paid in advance to suppliers.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic last March, we have relentlessly been in communication with all authorities including MCCAA practically on a daily basis so as to try our utmost to deliver the very best possible response and service to our clients.

We also add that a few months before the pandemic, ROCS Travel was awarded ‘Best in Customer Service in all the Travel Industry in Malta’ at the MCCAA Awards Servizz Bi Tbissima. It is not our intention to change our commitment or ethos towards our loyal clients. In fact, our ROCS Travel team motto is that: "Without clients, there will be no us" and hence reassure all clients that notwithstanding the challenging times which we are facing, we will ALL remain fully faithful to such a philosophy.

On a final note, we know that the past months have been very uncertain ones, but we would like to reassure you that we are still here, and your holiday is still there to look forward to.
Although we don’t yet know when this coronavirus crisis will fully pass, at ROCS Travel in view of the large number of clients we handle every year are used to dealing with challenging situations. If your holiday plans have changed, we put forward our personal travel experts who will sit down and work with you so as to make the changes you need, whether that’s moving your travelling date ahead or even choosing a different destination altogether.

As the saying goes ‘At the end of a storm, there’s a golden sky’ and we look forward to sharing the beauty of travel with you all again,
Forever grateful and very much obliged for your kind custom,

Best regards,
From your ROCS Travel Team

𝗟𝗔𝗨𝗡𝗖𝗛𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗡𝗘𝗪 𝗢𝗣𝗧𝗜𝗢𝗡𝗦 𝗙𝗢𝗥 𝗘𝗫𝗜𝗦𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗚𝗥𝗢𝗨𝗣 𝗧𝗥𝗔𝗩𝗘𝗟 𝗕𝗢𝗢𝗞𝗜𝗡𝗚𝗦
If you have booked one of our 2020 Summer Group Holidays whether Simply Guided, Simply Family or Signature Journeys, please be advised that we will be sending a letter during the upcoming days, giving you 3 options to chose from. We confirm that the vast majority of these bookings can be cancelled free of charge, and the amount paid will be credited to your account, hence will be used for future groups. Another positive note is that such bookings are transferable, and can be used for travel up until the end of December 2021.

𝗢𝗣𝗧𝗜𝗢𝗡𝗦 𝗙𝗢𝗥 𝗘𝗫𝗜𝗦𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗜𝗡𝗗𝗜𝗩𝗜𝗗𝗨𝗔𝗟 & 𝗜𝗡𝗗𝗘𝗣𝗘𝗡𝗗𝗘𝗡𝗧 𝗧𝗥𝗔𝗩𝗘𝗟 𝗕𝗢𝗢𝗞𝗜𝗡𝗚𝗦
These bookings are a bit more of a complicated situation.
Since the outbreak, all ROCS Travel professionals have been working hard, negotiating with each and every supplier around the world, so as to find solutions and hence assist each and every individual client of ROCS. Many countries have sadly been on lockdown, therefore replies to us have not been as quick as we would have liked them to be, and hence such a delay has had a ripple effect on our communication with our clients. If you have been one of those clients, we kindly ask you to please accept our sincere apologies. As you know from past experience this is surely not our norm at all, yet like you, we have been waiting for certain decisions to be taken by suppliers.

Having said that, notwithstanding all challenges that this COVID 19 has brought about, we assure you that we will leave no stone unturned with suppliers so as to find a solution for each and every client of ours.

𝗦𝗨𝗣𝗣𝗟𝗜𝗘𝗥𝗦 𝗡𝗘𝗪𝗦
Like all airlines, cruise lines, hotels and other service providers, the reality of thousands of people expecting service in a matter of days has been the greatest challenge of all. One has to understand that whilst it took us years to accumulate such sales, the pandemic hit us all overnight.
Our largest suppliers during this pandemic are the airlines. Allow us to refer to the press release issued by our national carrier Air Malta, whereby the airline has confirmed that they have a staggering 40,000 requests in hand to tackle. As one can imagine, ROCS has a huge amount of tickets pending to be sorted from Air Malta, also from other international airlines too. Air Malta has, in fact, informed us as agents further the general public for co-operation on such a load, and informed everyone that such processes might take up to 10 months to settle.

For more information on this particular matter please click on this link: https://bit.ly/2ChdtAd

The same delay applies to most airlines, cruise lines and hotels too. Most are only granting a voucher only (postponement only) option due to the laws in the particular country of operation. Some countries in Europe such as Italy, France, Spain and Belgium are also adhering to such ‘voucher only’ option.

𝗟𝗘𝗚𝗔𝗟 𝗡𝗢𝗧𝗜𝗖𝗘 𝟴𝟬 / 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗣𝗔𝗖𝗞𝗔𝗚𝗘 𝗧𝗥𝗔𝗩𝗘𝗟 𝗗𝗜𝗥𝗘𝗖𝗧𝗜𝗩𝗘
• The Package Travel Directive states that whenever you have 2 components bought from a travel agency then that is considered as a packaged holiday and hence falls under the Package Travel Directive.
• The LN80 issued by Minister Julia Farrugia during the initial stages of the outbreak of COVID, gives agents 6 months from date of travel to find a solution with our suppliers. This is because as we previously stated client’s money is not in our pockets yet at our suppliers.
• In the past months due to COVID, The European Commission has urged all its member states to give travel companies a year and 14 days, in view of the shocking reality which we as agents have been faced with. This means that in accordance to the Maltese Authorities we should find a solution for our customer within 6 months whilst according to the Commission this would be 1 year and 14 days.
• The LN 80 also states that during such period, ‘Consumers are reminded not to chase travel agents for a solution before this date.’
• The consumers’ right for refund as stipulated in the Package Travel Regulations and the Air Passenger Rights Regulations is still there and it has been re-confirmed by the EU.
• The Authorities including the Ministry of Tourism and MCCAA are fully aware of the situation of Travel Agents and are hence proposing a fair solution with vouchers which we as ROCS fully support and recommend.
• The European Commissions' recommendations are the same, hence EU is encouraging travel agents and air carriers to offer consumers vouchers as an alternative option to money refund and not instead of money refund.

𝗪𝗜𝗧𝗛 𝗥𝗢𝗖𝗦 𝗧𝗥𝗔𝗩𝗘𝗟 𝗬𝗢𝗨 𝗔𝗥𝗘 𝗙𝗨𝗟𝗟𝗬 𝗣𝗥𝗢𝗧𝗘𝗖𝗧𝗘𝗗
• When booking a holiday with ROCS, different to when you book online, you have peace of mind that the holiday booked through ROCS Travel is fully protected. This is because ROCS forms part of the Maltese Insolvency Fund.
• This means that every packaged holiday we sell at ROCS is fully protected in case of a company insolvency. We rarely sell flights only, or hotels separately, so when you book with us you have the confidence that all the holidays sold are automatically covered. Such a deed from our side assures you, that you will never be left stranded or lose your money. Rest assured that we’re a member of this fund, and fully comply with its code of conduct.

𝗥𝗢𝗖𝗦 𝗧𝗥𝗔𝗩𝗘𝗟 – 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗢𝗡𝗟𝗬 𝗧𝗥𝗔𝗩𝗘𝗟 𝗖𝗢𝗠𝗣𝗔𝗡𝗬 𝗪𝗛𝗜𝗖𝗛 𝗜𝗦 𝗢𝗣𝗘𝗡 𝟳 𝗗𝗔𝗬𝗦 𝗔 𝗪𝗘𝗘𝗞 𝗙𝗢𝗥 𝗬𝗢𝗨!
We are pleased to announce that ROCS Travel is open for your convenience 7 days a week at MINSUTHREE The Point Shopping Mall in Tigne. Parking is currently free too, so we ask you to come and visit us with any queries which you might have, as we will be truly glad to assist you.

Our opening hours there are as follows:
Monday – Saturday from 10am – 7pm.
Sunday from 11am – 6pm

You can also contact us on Tel: 20151723 or 20151724
or send us an email at travelemergency@rocsgrp.com

For very urgent matters, we are available 24hours x 7days a week on 99131415.

Best Regards,
ROCS Travel