U.S. travelers to the Caribbean can breathe easier, says the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), which is now working with Trip Mate to offer travel protection for US citizens and residents if the unexpected happens with a visit booked at participating member hotels.
Trip Mate, one of the global leaders in administering protection to travelers and hotels, will now lock arms with CHTA so that member hotels can offer a comprehensive Travel Protection Plan for covered cancellations, interruptions, delays, baggage mishaps and medical situations that may arise during a guest’s trip.
Frank Comito, CEO and Director General of CHTA, noted that “people planning travel during these unprecedented times are concerned about the unpredictable, but their worries may be eased with coverage under our CHTA Member Exclusive Travel Protection Plan.”
He said the plan helps to protect guests as well as the health of hotel revenues, and comes at a time when more travelers are looking for added assurances to protect themselves before they fly out of the US.
CHTA’s Travel Protection Plan covers a guest’s hotel booking (non-refundable expenses paid for the portion of a hotel booking that goes unused) and additional transportation expenses if a guest needs to interrupt his or her trip due to a covered reason, which includes sickness. Medical expense coverage for Covid-19-related illness is included.
The Travel Protection Plan is available to members of both CHTA as well as national and local hotel associations. Properties that are not CHTA members can also take advantage of the offer for a limited time. The plan is applicable only to U.S. citizens or residents.
Comito emphasized that hotels which are not currently offering opt-in traveler insurance to further support their cancellation policies are missing an opportunity to generate more business, as consumers are increasingly looking for added assurances.
A recent survey by Oracle and Skift reveals that with so much uncertainty ahead, consumers are also demanding flexible cancellation and refund policies, which travel insurance helps to address.
Most airlines including American, Delta, and United are now allowing passengers to change travel dates free of charge, whereas before it had been very expensive to change a prebooked flight.
The tourism chief also noted that due to the pandemic, “a growing number of countries throughout the world, including several in the Caribbean, now require travel protection to enter their country.”
He said the plan provides both guests and hosts “a way to protect your investment when it comes to travel planning.”
At time of this report a list of those countries requiring ‘travel protection’ for entry is not available, however, as part of its announced Responsible Tourism Recovery Plan to ensure that the Dominican Republic is a safe travel destination, that country now offers a free travel assistance plan until 31st December 2020 to all tourists visiting participating hotels.
This plan is open to visitors of all nationalities (other than Dominicans) up to 85 years old, regardless of where they reside.
Previously it was announced that the plan will include emergency coverage, telemedicine cost coverage for long-term stay, and costs incurred for flight changing in the event of an infection, as well as COVID-19 tests. This insurance will be provided at no cost to the visitor until December 2020 and will be 100% paid for by the Dominican State.
The Dominican coverage includes:
• Attention by specialists, including with a pediatrician, if there are children
• All medications needed during hospitalization
• Medical transfers, of up to $500
• Health repatriation, of up to $2,000
• Air ticket for the transfer of a relative
• Fare difference or penalty for return trip due to delay, due to medical emergency
• Hotel expenses for forced rest due to hospitalization, daily limit of $75
• Repatriation or funeral transfers
• Legal Assistance and Judicial Bond in case of accident
All the services included in the insurance operate only while the traveler remains in the Dominican Republic and are coordinated through the Seguros Reservas Assistance Line.