Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19): Important information for guests of Raja Ampat homestays
March 18 2020: Statement by the Raja Ampat Homestay Association.
Following the rapid spread of Coronavirus in Europe, governments around the world are introducing travel restrictions, which is resulting in airlines cancelling or modifying their flight schedules. Furthermore, the increasing uncertainty in some countries regarding how policies may evolve in the coming days has led to concern among tourists that they may face quarantine restrictions upon returning home.
The homestays in Raja Ampat have experienced an unprecedented number of cancellations from guests that are either compelled to alter their travel plans, or no longer wish to travel in a time of uncertainty. In responding to these cancellation requests, we have applied the terms and conditions published on this website. We designed these terms to balance the rights of guests to change their plans, with the needs of homestay owners to operate a sustainable business.
However, extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. After conferring with our homestay members, we have agreed to change our policies, with the following effects:
1) The cost of cancellation will be shared by the guest and the homestay. This means cancellations within 30 days of the trip will continue to receive a 50% refund (minus the Refund Service Fee) as currently allowed by the terms. But all cancellations within 14 days of the trip will now be refunded 45% of payment total, minus the Refund Service Fee. The effect of this change is that any cancellation, however late, will receive at least a partial refund.
2) Some homestays have decided to close to guests until the crisis is over. If a trip is cancelled because of this event, then the guest will be offered an alternative homestay, or a credit note on a future trip, or a full refund (less an administration fee). We do not anticipate many guests falling into this category, and they will be contacted as soon as possible.
3) Any guest who wishes to defer a booking for up to 12 months can do so at no cost. Please note that such deferments are ‘credits’ which must be used or forfeited: No refunds will be payable on credits issued and later cancelled by the guest.
4) Bookings made after March 17 2020 will not be subject to these special conditions. The standard cancellation policy will apply to all bookings made after March 17, 2020.
The Raja Ampat Homestay Association is a community-owned organisation that works on behalf of the families that welcome thousands of guests each year to the incredible region of Raja Ampat. The travel company that operates this website and the booking system is wholly owned by the Papuan members of the Association. Therefore, the terms described here are designed to be fair to travellers caught up in a situation that is not of their own making, whilst also protecting the long term sustainability of this community-owned enterprise, as well as the many homestays in Raja Ampat that support the livelihoods of thousands of people across the islands.
We hope that you will be patient with our team while we respond to your enquiries, which may take longer than usual. Please also bear in mind that as a social enterprise, we do not have financial backing from banks or the government. The enterprise is sustained by acting as the intermediary between homestays and the guests who book trips through our website. We are proud of the way that community-owned ecotourism has built resilience in our community, and this is now the time for us to demonstrate to our guests, our stakeholders and to ourselves that we will be a permanent and crucial part of the Raja Ampat tourism landscape.
a) If you need information about the facts affecting your upcoming trip, we recommend that you follow the official advice issued by your government, and that you check the status of your flight on your airline or departure airport’s website.
b) Your travel Insurance may cover the cost of your pre-paid booking and flights, if the trip has been curtailed or cancelled. Check your travel insurance policy for the scope of your cover. Some policies will specify that where government advice has been issued to deter travel (which may cover foreign governments), then this qualifies as cancellation for which a claim will be valid. If you are unsure, you should check with your insurer.
c) As of 17th March 2020, the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has banned travellers entering or transiting Indonesia who have been in one of the 8 countries he mentioned in the last 14 days. Those countries are Iran, Italy, Vatican City, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, and United Kingdom. [“Cegah Persebaran Corona, Travelers dari 8 Negara Ini Dilarang Masuk RI”]