On canceled tours

By Gary Mockli
This item appears on page 26 of the June 2013 issue.

I was fascinated by the subscriber’s letter titled “South America for the Birds(Jan. ’13, pg. 22), in which he recounted his tour “Guyana, Suriname & Trinidad” with Adventures Abroad. 

Particularly of note was his statement that his trip in March 2012 was the first the company had run there in four years. I found this interesting, as I had signed up for the tour for February 2013. I had also signed up for three prior tours with Adventures Abroad over the years (Malta, Indian Ocean and Ethiopia), none of which ran. 

When I signed up for this one, I told the agent my history and asked if this tour usually ran. I was told that it did, but, based on my prior experiences, I was not surprised when I was ultimately told the tour was canceled. Thankfully, I had arranged a backup plan.

Have other travelers had difficulties with tour companies routinely canceling tours? With which tour companies have you experienced it most often? What were the destinations and about when were the tours supposed to take place?

This is of particular interest to those of us who work and therefore have their vacation dates highly constrained. (I typically have to sign up six months to a year in advance.)


Chesterfield, MO

ITN emailed a copy of the above letter to Adventures Abroad (with offices in Canada; the UK; Australia, and Blaine, WA) and received the following reply.

We sincerely regret Mr. Mockli’s past experience with canceled tours. Upon review of his booking history and the popularity of his past chosen tours, it seems that his choices have suffered from unfortunate timing and circumstances. 

Malta is a popular destination for us, but the July departure he chose is probably the least popular departure date that we offer. (Europe is much more popular in the spring and fall.) 

Our Indian Ocean Isles tour suffered after the 2004 tsunami and never really recovered for us. 

Ethiopia in September tends to get overshadowed by November and January departures, which feature better-known festivals. 

As such, we no longer offer Malta in July, and the Indian Ocean tour has been pulled from our roster, pending a redesign. 

Finally, the regularly scheduled Guyanas tour that Mr. Mockli booked was eclipsed by a special one-time tour, designed and led by one of our senior Tour Leaders, scheduled to occur at roughly the same time. That tour eventually departed fully booked; we offered this alternative trip to Mr. Mockli several times, but he declined, preferring to remain on his original booking. 

We do not cancel many departures, but it does occasionally happen for a number of reasons beyond our control. When we do cancel a tour, we do so no later than 60 days prior to departure. Once a tour becomes “guaranteed,” we never unguarantee it. 

While we sympathize with Mr. Mockli’s need to make his plans six months or more in advance, we regret that many of our other travelers are not so inclined, which, of course, means that tours scheduled that early out do not always make the minimal number. 

On a more positive note, it seems that the Guyanas region is enjoying an upswing in popularity of late. Should Mr. Mockli choose to give that tour another chance, we are much more confident in its likelihood to depart. 

We look forward to having Mr. Mockli join us on an Adventures Abroad tour in the near future. 

RICK UNRAU, Product Manager, Adventures Abroad Worldwide Travel, Ltd., 2148-20800 Westminster Highway, Richmond, BC, V6V 2W3, Canada