South Africa-Health-Coronavirus

Cash refund woes for SA travellers

APA-Johannesburg (South Africa)

South Africa’s travel agents, reeling from poor business patronage due to the lockdown, on Wednesday said they are unable to cash-refund clients who cancelled travel plans due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Saying they have no choice in the matter, the travel agents blamed the eight-week national lockdown for negatively affecting their businesses after borders were shut down and airlines grounded to contain the spreading of the disease.

 The travel agents, however, said they were in a position to offer only travel credits up to 24 months for the cancelled trips. 

 This is in contrast to most of the clients’ wishes, who preferred to be refunded in cash as the coronavirus lockdown had also financially affected them, the agents noted.

 The agents said some service providers, such as the airlines and hotels, were now bankrupt after they were grounded from flying over the worldwide health crisis. 

 This was why the agents are unable to provide the needed services to their clients like issuing cash refunds to them, they said.

 A KwaZulu-Natal travel agent who sought anonymity said it was not up to the agents if the money was refunded or not. “We have to go with whatever the supply rules are. 

 “A lot of airlines are giving vouchers and free date changes. Some suppliers are giving refunds but the bulk of them are merely trying to retain businesses. 

 “If we get money back from the suppliers, then we obviously second that back to our clients. In that case, a lot of travel agencies are not going to survive,” the KwaZulu Natal agent said. 

NM/as/APA

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