We could never have expected this virus to turn into a global pandemic whilst we were eating our Christmas turkey and celebrating the New Year back in December. 2020 was looking to be our biggest and best year to date with new packages, properties, staff and partners for our clients to enjoy and we fully intend for you to still enjoy all these new elements be it in 2020 or the future!
However we are now here and we have to look at it with a clear view. Our aim is to provide epic Mountain Bike Holidays, it always has been and always will. For now that involves looking after our clients, our staff, friends, families and the business so we can keep the wheels rolling into 2020, 2021 and many years beyond!
Late On Wednesday 13th the EU released a set of guidelines for countries to follow to re-open borders to tourism this summer. It is a huge document, which we have been working our way through. They are working hard to make sure there is a summer season, vital to the economies of Europe and for peoples well being as we attempt to return to normal. When we have an understanding of what each measure means for your holiday with us, we will be announcing in our weekly email update.
This page will keep you up to date with the most recent happenings and hopefully give you some reassurance regarding your booking or if your are considering placing a future booking!
The latest on travel to and from the continent will be posted here as we have it.
Last Update 28.05.20 (French deconfinement Phase 3)
The Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) have now updated the travel advice for British Nationals, as of April 6th, which advises against all but essential international travel which initially applied until April 15th but now is "indefinite".
What does this mean, well.... the “indefinite” advice does not favours for us or our clients. The Foreign Office has created a bizarre situation whereby holidaymakers now have no fixed date for when they could travel so a refund request is likely yet conversely, travel firms can reasonably reject such applications for now because the no-go warning could theoretically be lifted at any moment and our operations re start.
The Coronavirus situation is having a huge impact on holidays and we understand that you may have questions about any cancelled holiday or upcoming holidays. We want to reassure you that we’re working around the clock to help our customers and our advice is always guided by the FCO, Travel Vault and ABTA, with whom we are working very closely.
We fully intend to operate in the Summer months from the 20th June - 21st September.
You can keep upto date with the FCO travel advice for the country you are travelling to here
- France - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france/email-signup
- Italy - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy/email-signup
- Austria - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/austria/email-signup
Should their travel advice change to advise against travelling to your destination and your holiday is affected, we will contact you to discuss your options.
Please note that our standard booking terms and conditions apply to any amendments, cancellations, deposits and final balance payments.
Our deposits are non refundable, however we are happy to move your booking to an alternative date during the 2020 operating period if this is done before your 8 week final balance deadline and availability allows.
There will also be the option to change your travel date to 2021 if your balance has been paid in full. We are doing this from the final balance due date as to keep it fair for everyone and that also means no one can take the dates after their original booking date so all future moves have the same respect.
See T&C's here - https://www.mtbbeds.com/booking-terms-conditions
It may sound counter-intuitive to pay out more money to guarantee either a holiday or your money back, but that is the way the system works that we operate within.
We ask you to settle the balance payment for your holiday (by the due date detailed on your Confirmation email and MyBooking portal). If the final balance is not paid by the due date and you have not contacted us to request a date move or discuss an alternative option this will be taken as a cancellation of the booking and the deposit held so please keep us in the loop if you decided not to pay or cancel. Please see clause 25 in our T&C's for non payment and liability.
Yes. We can understand that the situation is causing some concerns, but we would never operate a holiday to a destination which is unsafe to do so, and if any travel restrictions come into force then we will contact you as soon as we know to discuss your options.
- EasyJet are offering Bike/Bag carriage for £0.99p on all flights booked before the 17th April, that could save you over £165 on the normal cost with you book both in
- The Summer season has been extended into September in Morzine and the Portes du Soleil for the Les Gets World cup and we have some great deals
- Yes there is an “indefinite” travel ban in place but that also means travel could resume at any point, we don't expect this tomorrow but June is looking possible.
- Many of the major summer European airlines operating out of the UK have announced they intend to start flying in Mid June once again - SEE HERE
We are staying positive and we have faith, Please keep upto date with the FCO advice with the links above.
NOTE - Any NEW bookings placed from now, 20th March onward for the 2020 operating period will be refunded in full by us if you are not able to purchase travel insurance and the FCO advise again travel. You must have paid your deposit and final balance in terms with our T&C's. We will ask for proof that you could not purchase insurance that is all.
Because we believe in protecting our clients, and if the worst case scenario did happen you can be secure in the knowledge that your money is protected in full by a Travel Vault insurance policy.
This is called a Passenger Protection Policy and costs us a large sum to have in place each year but we feel it is only fair to protect your money and under the Package Travel Regulations. If you are provided with two or more elements in a package it is a legal operating requirement. PLEASE check a company has this in place before you book any trips.
Seasonal Beds Ltd is a company committed to customer satisfaction and consumer financial protection. We are therefore pleased to announce that, at no extra cost to you, and in accordance with '' The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018'' all passengers booking with Seasonal Beds Ltd are fully insured for the initial deposit, and subsequently the balance of monies paid as detailed in your booking confirmation form. The policy will also include repatriation if required, arising from the cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Seasonal Beds Ltd. This insurance has been arranged by The Travel Vault in conjunction with Towergate Travel through Zurich Insurance PLC.
In the unlikely event of Insolvency, you must Inform Towergate Travel immediately on +44 (0) 1932 334140 or by email at [email protected] . Please ensure you retain the booking confirmation form as evidence of cover and value.
Policy exclusions: This policy will not cover any monies paid for Travel Insurance
How will I know if my travel plans are going to be affected?
We are constantly monitoring the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), and are in constant communications with ABTA and the local health authorities at our destinations. We will respond to any advice by FCO (or foreign government agencies) against non-essential travel to your destination. We will contact you as soon as it is clear that we won’t be able to operate your holiday. However, the unpredictable nature of Coronavirus may mean that decisions about cancelling or changing your holiday may take place just a few days before your departure.
What Happens if I Decide to Cancel My Trip?
If you decide not to travel and choose to cancel your holiday then our usual cancellation terms apply. We advise that you contact your travel insurance provider in advance to check your terms for cancellation.
Will I be covered by my travel insurance if I decide to cancel?
Usually, your travel insurance will only cover you if your trip was planned for an area the FCO has now specifically advised against travelling to. However, we would advise you check with your travel insurance provider as there may be exceptions for other instances, such as if you are concerned about a serious underlying medical condition.
Should I book holiday insurance?
According to personal finance expert Martin Lewis, if you currently have a holiday booked for any destination, you should get insurance as soon as possible because the situation at your destination could quickly change.
Should the FCO change its advice and warn against travel to a new area you should be covered if your insurance is taken out before the advice changes, but should you try to take out insurance after the fact you will not get it.
If I continue to pay my final balance, will my money still be protected, even though I am paying it in the knowledge that virus may disrupt my trip?
Yes, your money is completely safe. It is insured with Travel Vault, how are obliged by the CMA (Competition & Markets Authority) to cover these funds. As soon as you pay any monies to MTB Beds for a holiday, an insurance policy is taken out on it which is protected by industry rules. The policy effects your money in the event of MTB Beds becoming insolvent and is not related to holiday insurance in any way. This means you can trust that any money paid that maybe paid for a booked trip, or differed to a future trip will be 100% safe.
We have transfers booked or included with our holiday, will they go ahead as planned and how will they work?
Yes, if flights are coming in transfers will be available. our partner Skiidy Gonzales could operate today if they had demand. They were practicing social distancing measures when the outbreak began in March. If there is an issue with the Swiss border it is possible access Geneva airport via France (The airport has a French sector, as the majority of it actually is in France).
Can MTB Beds guarantee all lifts will be open and we will be able to have full access of all the Portes du Soleil trail map and lift network?
We are in regular contact with the lift companies and resorts. They intend to be fully operational from July 4th. Social distancing measures discussed so far include gloves and masks for employees, and spaced out queues. We cannot guarantee this date, as we do not operate the lifts ourselves. All operations will follow Government guidelines.
Will the bars & Restaurants be open in Morzine?
While we do not know who may choose to close, no one we have spoken to has indicated they will, by June 2nd France wants to be able to give permission for bars and restaurants to open.
What social distancing measures will be in place at our chalet?
As of May 12th, we do not not know, we are working on possible ideas and solutions but until the French release guidelines we do not know exactly what measures we have to implement. Put simply, we will do everything the Government advises and more to ensure client and staff safety as much as possible.
I am flying into Geneva, this is Switzerland, can I still fly? Can my transfer pick us up?
Yes. Believe it or not you fly into France. Geneva airport straddles the border and has a French sector. Pick ups and drop offs can be made from Morzine via Geneva airport without going into Switzerland. Frontalier workers (transfer drivers / companies are considered as such), can enter Switzerland to pick up passengers with a airline ticket from the same day, as of now (May12th). What rules maybe imposed on flying into GVA from the UK side remain to be seen, but flights, though not frequent now, are operating.
If you will be allowed to fly for recreational purposes is not currently known.
ABTA offers updated advice and FAQs for travellers: www.abta.com/coronavirus
WHO is providing detailed advice on how to protect yourself and rolling updates on the outbreak: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
Travellers are advised to read the FCO travel advice for the country they are travelling to: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) TravelHealthPro website: travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries
Here’s what we know about how Covid-19 will effect Summer travel plans
----- May 28th -----
The French Government have announced phase 3 of their plan to reinstate normality on May 28th. The last 3 weeks have been in their words; ‘better than expected’ in controlling the virus.
The highlights are;
Bars & restaurants can re-open from June 2nd. Masks are compulsory for staff, with a maximum of 10 people per table, with a 1 metre minimum distance between tables.
Hotels can re-open from June 2nd (Accommodations not classified as hotels have been open for several weeks now), the particulars of room arrangements are to be clarified
The 100km travel limit set for travel within France has been lifted, those in France can now travel anywhere in the country beyond this radius.
Gyms, pools, fitness centres, parks and beaches all open from June 2nd.
They have conveyed their desire to have all internal European borders open from June 15th, but wish to do so as a united Europe, not separately. Quote; ‘Travel within Europe, I hope will be allowed’.
This is due to be reviewed on June 22nd, with a track and trace app being available from this date.
----- May 23rd -----
The Home Secretary announced plans on Friday 22nd May to introduce mandatory quarantine on any arrival into the UK by any method of travel. Though exemptions exist for freight drivers, medical personnel and cross borders workers but importantly, not for leisure travel. These measures are due to be implemented from June 8th and will be reviewed every 3 weeks, meaning June 29th.
Though the announcements in the previous week that France and the UK would have a bi-lateral agreement for quarantine free travel may have been made in good faith between the UK Government and France. It appears the UK Government has decided to break rank from the other 26 EU nations that are working to have borders re-opened by the end of June. However with the timeline that has been given, the end of June is still a possibility to see quarantine free travel into the UK. France have previously stated any rules imposed by the UK would be reciprocated, they have mirrored the UK's policy as of May 23rd, at midday. Italy and Austria are yet to clarify their position. French announcement found here.
How to take this news? It is disappointing however in the last six weeks we have learned that one week is a very long time. Much can change and Governments, particularly in the UK and Italy, can change policy hour by hour that would be unthinkable in any other time.
The travel sector in the UK is a huge market responsible for a substantial amount of local and international GDP, ABTA and the aviation industry are poised to put immense pressure on the UK Government to substantiate these measures, which go against WHO guidelines. The EU have already laid out their policy in returning tourism to the bloc this summer and this policy threatens to go against that, the UK remains a member of the EU until 2021.
It is important to note these quarantine regulations are not permanent and have not been given an end date. They maybe lifted at anytime. Though it is going to get nail bitingly close to prime summer months of July and August, they are still on the table as potential travel dates. By June 29th, the UK Governments current revision date of these rules, the rest of the EU will have been able to move freely for two weeks should the EU plans go ahead.
We see this as yet another hurdle to jump, we've jumped every one so far and though this one is pretty high, together we have the legs. Please email us with any concerns over your holiday booking and we will answer them as best we can.
----- May 20th -----
Uplifts have been underway in Finale Ligure and Aosta have been given the go ahead to restart their guiding and transprt services. All 9 seater vans are running on a 4 client minimum number for now.
----- May 17th -----
Italy is set to re-open it's borders to Schengen nations for un-restricted to travel as early as June 3rd in an effort to re-ignite the tourism sector.
----- May 13th -----
EU Release huge document covering 3 phase plan to allow countries to organise themselves for tourism this summer, among member states, as Germany/Austria and the Baltic states open their borders to each other.
----- May 12th -----
Super Morzine (Serma) confirms lift opening date for the summer season as 4th July
Bike Park Chatel confirm lift opening dates for the summer season as June 27th.
----- May 10th -----
Joint statement from the UK and France stating that travellers from either nation will not have to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
----- May 7th -----
Bike Park Les Gets announce they intend to open the lifts and trail network from 30th May.
Bike Park Champery Morgins also intend to be open from 11th June.
----- May 5th -----
The French Government have released plans for their phased end to confinement from May 11th - June 2nd.
The end of a strict lockdown in France begins on May 11. We are allowed to ride bikes again, the forests are open and we can travel anything up to 100km without an ‘attestation’ to state why we are travelling, within your region
Shops under 4000m2 can re open, with measures in place to regulate social distancing.
Groups of up to 10 people can congregate
Bars, cafes and restaurants will remain closed
Events of up to 5000 people cannot be held
Masks will be required in public
Here is the link to the full de-confinement procedure - Deconfinement The procedure is split into different zones, by region, certain regions are harder hit than others, their liberties will be less than others. Currently, Morzine is classified as orange. Though we have a very low amount of Covid-19 cases, we do not have a large amount of intensive care beds, so our colour will be decided before May 11.
We also know that tourists or anyone entering France from within Schengen countries, to also include the UK, will NOT be required to quarantine on arrival.
President Macron is due to make a further speech this week (Thursday 7th) to the French people, where he will release the final maps that will be adjusted each week as the cases hopefully drop. We are expecting some news regarding travel and the summer season.
The Portes du Soleil lift system intends to be open fully on the 4th July
Morzine, Les Gets, Champery and Morgins intend to be open on June 27th
The full lift system is scheduled to close by September 2nd, but talks are underway to extend.
The Morzine and Les Gets lift network intends to be open until 20th September
The Les Gets round of the World Cup is still scheduled to go ahead
The Passportes du Soleil bike festival has been rescheduled to the last weekend in August.
The Aguille de Midi lift in Chamonix intends to open on May 12th.
We are expecting updates every week if not more frequently as we approach the end of May, June 2nd is the date France have set to have every section of society reassessed and given a pathway to ‘business as usual’, or at least given new dates to work toward.
------ April 23rd ------
An announcement from the Portes du Soleil lift companies and resorts arrived on the afternoon of April 23rd. They have slated July 4th as an opening date for the full Portes du Soleil network. If the restrictions and demand allows, they will consider opening earlier, even as far as opening as planned on June 20th.
At the time of writing this has not been Government sanctioned and there will be certain social distancing measures in place.
The resorts still plan to open until September 20th as originally advertised, though everything, including the possibility of opening later remains on the table.
Here is their announcement, translated to English;
“The GIE of the Portes du Soleil ski lifts has announced that it will not be possible to open the entire Portes de Soleil ski area on June 13. It is likely that the opening will be on July 4, but if the sanitary conditions allow it some RM will open on June 27, notably Morzine (Pleney), Les Gets, Châtel and Champéry. For now, the closure is scheduled for September 20.
The ski lifts reflect on the cleaning of the installations, how to ensure a social distance, as well as the supply of masks and gels. Information on the measures to be implemented will follow later.”
This does come with plenty of extra information, this is an extremely fluid announcement that will be met with many questions. We followed up with our contacts within the resort in order to flesh out their thinking, here are those conversations in bullet point;
- July 4th definitive opening date for all lifts across the network, pending government approval. This is the Portes du Soleil’s date of choice and does not come from official Government guidelines as yet.
- June 27th is still a possible opening date for some lifts, and maybe even earlier. Though it may sound unlikely, should border restrictions be lifted in time the lift operations can be opened earlier, they are opening based on potential demand.
- Social distancing measures will be put in place on the lifts, though it is not clear what this means, masks and gloves for lift operating staff will be the minimum.
- Lift operations will continue until at least the 20th September, though it has not been confirmed if this means the whole Portes du Soleil.
Very encouraging news at a time when we all need something uplifting! (Pun intended)