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Suffolk travel agent gives advice for travellers in the wake of coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 13:49 12 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:23 12 March 2020

Staff at Deben Travel say that they have been badly hit by the impact of coronavirus Picture: DEBEN TRAVEL

Staff at Deben Travel say that they have been badly hit by the impact of coronavirus Picture: DEBEN TRAVEL

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An independent Suffolk travel agent has offered advice to travellers who fear their holiday plans could be disrupted because of the coronavirus outbreak.

An independent Suffolk travel agent has offered advice to travellers who fear their holiday plans could be disrupted because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Lee Hunt, Director of Deben Travel, in Woodbridge, said that it was a tough time for both travellers and the industry.

'If people don't want to travel there are going to be financial consequences,' he said.

What is the current situation?

'If people say I really don't want to travel in April and May we are trying to transfer to a different date.'

Some airlines and hotels are waiving fees to have holidays transferred but not all.

Mr Hunt also said that there seem to be more flexibility for those booking new holidays.

With companies also waiving fees for some of those booking new holidays should their trips have to be moved in the future.

'We are telling people they should look at the Government website and the Foreign Office website,' said Mr Hunt.

'The Foreign Office advice is most important.'

How has the situation impacted on the business so far?

The virus has had a huge impact on Mr Hunt's business in the past few weeks.

'It's a really difficult time,' said the travel expert.

'The travel industry are stuck in the middle of it.

'For us from a business perspective we have been open eight years and our cruise shop has been open two years.

'From March 1 - 11 actual sales dropped 95%. People are really not booking.

'We get a lot of late booking for Easter and people are not booking.

'March is also a really big month for skiing and people can't go to Italy.'

What's the situation looking forward?

With the exception of some countries - including Italy, China and South Korea - Mr Hunt said it was important for people to remember that travel was still possible.

'The rest of the world is open for tourists,' said Mr Hunt.

'Even with the US ban the UK is exempt.'

However, with increasing numbers of cases in the UK Mr Hunt said he believed countries could begin to close the door to UK travellers altogether.

'If that happens and people have booked ATOL protected holidays they will be refunded,' said Mr Hunt.

See more on Coronavirus here

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