Coronavirus Travel Advice & FAQs
Updated: Sept 1st
A message from our MD
We hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.
The Alps have been buzzing with activity this summer as cyclists, walkers, summer skiers and active families have enjoyed the lakes and mountains. It’s been a similar success story in Greece, and our Beach club in Kos (which is still open) has hosted some memorable holidays for Brits lucky enough to be able to get away this summer.
As one of the first tour operators to have opened this summer, we worked diligently to prepare our hotels and chalets for opening in July. My thanks not only go to my staff but to the many guests who joined us for one of our most memorable summers yet. We met lots of very happy guests from the UK who were so pleased to be away. One guest even went so far as to say it was ‘their best holiday yet’, which for all of us, made all the work worthwhile! So thank you, your comments go a long way.
The Coronavirus situation did cause the FCO to change their travel advice from the middle of August (for France), but I am glad to report that all our guests were able to complete their holiday and return home as normal. Our Greek guests have not been affected and continue to enjoy warm winds and sailing.
We are confident that travel will resume, and as we forge ahead with our new and very much polished, (but smaller), ski programme for 2021, many of you are booking now, safe in the knowledge that our new flexible booking policy gives you options to be able to amend and cancel your holiday because of Covid.
If you are concerned about booking
So that you have complete confidence, our new booking terms, to include relaxed cancellation and payment terms and a removal of amendment fees so you can change your date or destination, (for free), up to 6 weeks before departure. See more here.
We have had 6 months of living with Coronavirus which has given us ample time to adapt our programme and booking conditions to give our future guests more confidence in booking.
Managing Director and founder
Alpine Elements Ltd, iGOSKi Ltd, Ocean Elements, Venture Holidays Ltd
Book with Confidence
It is important to us that you are completely confident in booking your holiday. We have updated our booking conditions to offer you lower deposits, relaxed balance payment dates and very relaxed cancellation terms:
Lower deposit payments
Reserve your winter or summer holiday during September for a low deposit of just £150pp. Ends Sept 30th.
Relaxed payment terms
Book during September and your final balance will be due 8 weeks before departure, instead of 12 weeks.
No amendment fees
We have scrapped our holiday amendment fees so you can make changes to your booking, destination or dates for no cost, until 42 days before departure. Read more
Relaxed cancellation terms
We have reduced our cancellation policy, so you can cancel right up to 42 days before departure for only a loss of your deposit.
Covid Cancellation policy - If we have to cancel
If we have to cancel your trip due to Covid then you may:
1/ Change your departure date or destination for no fee,
2/ Choose to have a full refund within 14 days (in-line with ABTA guidance),
3/ Accept a credit note to give you more time to rebook - and we’ll give you a 10% discount for your loyalty
Can I book a ski holiday this winter?
Yes you can! Many of our customers are making use of our current early booker prices which end on Sept 30th. Our teams are working 9am - 6pm Monday to Friday helping our clients arrange their perfect ski holiday or private chalet this winter, whilst availability remains.
I understand there may be fewer catered chalets this winter
Even before Covid, the constraints on chalet operators have made it uneconomic to run large scale chalet operations. Many of the bigger operators such as ourselves, Inghams, Ski Total, Ski Esprit and Skiworld have considerably reduced their chalet programmes for next winter.
Do give us a call or email us and we will help you to plan and reserve your holiday while our early booker deals are available. You will be able to change the dates of your holiday using our new flexible booking terms or to have your money fully refunded if your holiday is cancelled, with our ‘Book with Confidence’ policy.
What will the experience be like in resort?
At the current time, it is mandatory to wear a facemask on ski lifts for anyone aged 11+ years, and (we are told) that a Buff is acceptable. So, perhaps nothing much has changed for those used to wearing Buffs!
The French resorts are not looking at capacity reductions on the lifts, so we shouldn’t see more queues than usual. If you are concerned about cabin or bubble lifts, then all of our resorts have chairlifts you can use to access the same slopes.
Is my money safe if I book with Alpine Elements?
Alpine Elements is a long established business and we’ve been operating for over 22 years. We are members of ABTA and ATOL and carry more than 26,000 passengers a year to destinations in France, Austria and Greece. We are big enough to give you confidence in our performance, yet mobile enough to care and be flexible to any change that comes our way.
All our package holidays are fully protected by ABTA/ATOL bonding so you will never be stranded or lose any money, even in the unlikely situation that we face insolvency.
Can I change the dates of my holiday after I book?
As part of a new addition to our flexible booking terms, anyone booking after Sept 1st can amend their dates up until 42 days prior to departure to a holiday later in the season, and for no extra cost or fees. There will be no amendment fee for self travel holidays or holidays with our charter flights. If you are flying scheduled airlines (like Easyjet) an amendment fee may apply. If your new holiday is more expensive then you will pay the higher price, if it is cheaper then you will pay the lower price
We hope that this will give you the confidence to book now and make use of our excellent early bookers deals while prices remain low and availability good for this coming winter
Will I get a refund if there is another outbreak, or my holiday is cancelled due to Covid?
In the event your holiday is cancelled because FCO have advised against travel, we will contact you as soon as possible to discuss these options:
1/ To change your holiday to another destination or departure date - either later in the season, or the following season.
2/ If you are unable to postpone, then we will discuss arrangements for a full cash refund for all monies paid to Alpine Elements, within 14 days or as soon as is practicably possible - in line with latest ABTA advice.
What is your plan for safely running chalets and hotels?
We have been running our chalets and hotels since July and have had many very happy guests. We have implemented many new changes to include a general capacity restriction, with special focus on transfer coaches, mealtime planning, public areas (lounges), use of leisure facilities and activities planning so you can still enjoy the mountain and all it offers.
Our staff have been thoroughly retrained in COVID-specific hygiene standards so that our hotels and chalets offer the best possible protection, and we only work with our most trusted suppliers
Where is safer - a chalet or a hotel?
We implemented strict new COVID policies in all our properties, to include safe distancing, rigorous new cleaning standards and COVID trained staff, all wearing PPE.
Our catered chalets can be booked privately for your group, so you can remain in your own booking bubble. You can even drive to the Alps and by using the Eurotunnel you don't have to see anyone - from your door at home to the chalet. Your chalet host will be temperature checked before each shift and practice safe distancing. They will always be wearing PPE when doing chalet tasks like handling food and wearing a facemask at all times.
Our hotels are tightly run by an extremely professional team and all staff have been thoroughly trained in new COVID policies to include safe distancing, capacity reductions, longer service hours and new cleaning procedures. PPE and mask wearing is mandatory, and hotels will offer room service by special arrangement.
I’m nervous about flying, can I drive to the Alps?
All of our holidays can be sold with or without flights if you would prefer to self-drive and travel in your own company. Mask free!
We always recommend self-driving via the Eurotunnel, so you can get from your home to your accommodation in the Alps without being in contact with a single person.
Are many people booking ski holidays?
Since the start of the summer we have seen a 45% surge in demand for our ski holidays. Demand is high and chalets and hotels are fewer this year as most Tour Operators, including ourselves, make 40 to 50% capacity reductions.
‘Many of our guests lost time on the mountain last year or have not had a break this summer, so they’re very keen to get back to the slopes in a few months time’ says James hardiman, MD of Alpine Elements
‘Industry experts expect there to be a rush to book for next winter once the future of travelling is made clear by the UK and foreign governments and travel recommences’ A quote from the Telegraph, 26 Aug 2020
Covid-19 Travel Insurance
We recommend that you take out additional Covid-19 travel insurance. Many travel insurance policies will no longer cover you as standard if your holiday is disrupted due to Coronavirus, but there are new policies and add-ons appearing on the market that will. Look for ones which will cover you in the event of NHS Test & Trace disrupting your plans.
ABTA has updated advice and FAQs for travellers at abta.com/coronavirus