Covid 19 Travel Update

We are feeling optimistic about international travel resuming later this year. The Covid vaccine rollout is going well and infection rates are declining around the world. Therefore, we have decided to operate our treks in Nepal and Bhutan starting in the Autumn/ Fall 2021 season. We would like to update you on how we will organise our trips given the Covid situation and the impact on booking your holiday.

Will my holiday go ahead?

We will only operate holidays if it is safe to do so for both our travellers and staff after completion of our internal risk assessments. We also follow the UK and the destination's guidelines and regulations. At the very latest, we will make a decision about whether a trip can operate 60 days before the departure date.

Covid safety protocols

We are well placed to implement Covid safety protocols as we only operate in a small number of countries. We have a very close and long-standing connection with our main destinations of Nepal, Pakistan, and Bhutan. We are already in compliance with British Standard 8848 and have contingency plans and standard operating procedures in place. We will implement Covid safe protocols for our trips within this framework.

What happens if my trip is cancelled?

Our Covid refund policy is clear, if we cancel the trip then we comply with UK/EU law and will refund you in full within 14 days. Also, we have not (and never will)  issue credit refund vouchers like many other UK operators. During the cancellations due to Covid in 2020 and 2021, we have always put our customers first. We gave our clients the choice of whether to postpone to another trip in the future or to get a refund. We processed the cancellations promptly and paid out refunds in most cases within a few days.

Book with confidence

We are fortunate that The Mountain Company has traded successfully in recent years and has built up strong cash reserves. We can survive for a number of years with no revenue due to prudent financial planning. Many other holiday companies are under financial stress so you should only book a holiday with a bonded operator like us.

We offer financial protection to 100% of our bookings including international clients. Our UK bookings are covered by our ATOL license back by the UK Government. International bookings are protected by our ABTOT bond. Under UK/EU law it is only a legal requirement to offer financial protection to UK clients. But we go the extra mile to protect our international clients too.

Travel insurance with Covid cover

We suggest you look around for travel insurance and make sure you are ready to take out cover at the point of booking your holiday with us. You should make sure your insurance covers Covid risk and that you fully understand the policy. For many years we have worked with Campbell Irvine (UK residents only) and they have a robust policy for high altitude trekking. They have introduced a Covid policy that is one of the best we have seen however do your own research as this is your decision to make. You can read our Insurance webpage and our landing page for Campbell Irvine. We understand that Global Rescue/ IMG has a Covid policy that some people have recommended so it is worth looking at that too especially for non-UK residents.

We look after our clients

When the pandemic struck, our first priority was to repatriate our clients that were on holiday. We worked hard to make sure they could return home as quickly and safely as possible. We are delighted to receive positive feedback received from clients such as:

"We can not praise TMC highly enough. Not only was the trek and related elements well run but the support in the growing wave of anxiety about Covid19 was first class and fully vindicated the choice of agency. The trek was completed just before the impact of Covid19 restrictions really hit Nepal but with developing events it became paramount that we got back to KTM from rural Nepal asap. Not only did TMC arrange the relevant impromptu flight and transfers (with payment not needed until we got to KTM!!) but their team also supported our efforts to rebook early flights back to the UK. Without a doubt, our prompt return to the UK without difficulty (we arrived 20 March 2/3 days before formal lockdown) was largely down to the ease with which TMC arranged our return to KTM and movements once we got there."

We look after our trek crews and staff

In 2020 we sent hardship payments of £20k (US$27k) to our trek crews in Nepal, Bhutan, and Pakistan. We raised this money from sales of Buff scarves and donations from our incredible clients. This support has helped our guides, cooks, porters and their families survive without any other income. We will continue to raise funds for our trek crews in 2021. Please get in touch with us if you would like to help out. For more information take a look at our Responsible Tourism webpage.

Future plans

We are now taking bookings for the Autumn 2021 season and for trips in 2022. We already have a number of groups confirmed for these seasons. You can follow our travel plans and the latest Covid situation by reading our monthly e-newsletters. Please get in touch with us soon if you like to travel with us to the Himalayas and Karakoram. Trek on!

If you have any more questions, please call us on +44(0) 1647 433880 and we would be happy to discuss further.

Roland Hunter
Managing Director, The Mountain Company