Travel in a post-covid world

A message from Selective Asia's founder, Nick

'The COVID-19 outbreak had an extraordinary impact on travel, bringing the industry to its knees and altering its landscape completely. The beaches and rainforests of Asia never felt further from me than in the first few months of 2020. Now the dust is settling, we're learning what must be done differently from now on. Although it's a time of great challenge, there are also many opportunities to do things better. Throughout our years of growth, we’ve undoubtedly been successful in many ways, but in others we feel we lost our way — lost a little of our ‘selectiveness’, if you will. To balance all the negative impacts of the pandemic, we’re determined to make the most of the opportunity it has given us to review how we work and get back on the path.

Along with developing a new 'low touch travel' approach, and other ways to minimise risks associated with travel as we move towards the new norm, we're stepping up our focus on sustainability, and becoming even more rigorous when it comes to asking ourselves the tough questions about our products and services. We've also redefined our booking procedure and adjusted our terms & conditions, giving you the necessary flexibility and certainty to allow you to plan your travels in 2021 & beyond.

We're taking care not to lose what we do well, of course — you can look forward to plenty of innovative products, a refined iteration of our highly personalised service, and no doubt many terrible puns, at least when I start feeling up to making jokes again!

In many ways, the Selective Asia approach is already ideal for travel in a covid-focused world. We maintain a genuinely local network of colleagues and partners throughout Asia. This allows us to craft highly individualized trips that can match all manner of requirements. Our expert guides and agile ground handlers take care of you throughout your journey. We depend on them to breathe life into our thorough research and careful planning, and they're skilled at adapting safely to unexpected events — ensuring that your holidays can stay fun and fulfilling, as well as low-risk.

Other aspects of the travel industry were long overdue a push in a better direction. Visits to much-dreamed-of destinations will become even more precious experiences to be savoured, with a focus on slowing down our travels, and exploring other connected communities. Global lockdowns brought into even sharper focus the need for travel to be sustainable, and for our journeys to be gentle on the environment, to support conservation projects, and have tangible benefits for the communities we visit.

As a long-standing advocate for this type of travel, I think the next chapter in humanity’s eagerness to see beyond the horizon could, eventually, be a really gratifying one. I intend to make sure that Selective Asia leads the way, and hope to support many of you in your desire to do likewise.

Every destination is different — surely that’s what makes Asia such a compelling destination! — and our approach to your safety during your travels will be adapted to local circumstances.

Wishing the very best for you and yours,

The Selective Way - book with flexibility and financial clarity

With all that has happened since Covid-19 made its unwelcome entrance back in January there is understandably some caution when it comes to committing to any new travels plans at this time.

That said, we know that many of you are keen to lock in a new trip, shining some much-needed light on the distant horizon. Not only will this give you something to really look forward to but it also means that you will be providing hope and support to the many local economies throughout Asia that are so reliant on tourism.

We’ve always striven to be as accommodating and flexible as possible with all our clients, however some of the small print didn’t necessarily reflect this. So we have revisited our booking procedure and our terms & conditions and taken steps to ensure that both are clearly providing you with the flexibility and financial clarity that we know you need when making your travel plans.

Rather than a time-limited special booking incentive, we’ve taken this opportunity to review and subsequently update our booking process for today and forever. No booking deadline, no hidden surprises. Just a booking procedure and financial guarantee that provides you with the flexibility you need.

Key points:

  • Low deposit commitment
  • Fully flexible dates of travel up to 30 days before departure
  • Destination exchange up to 30 days before departure

The details:

We create complex, one-of-a-kind holidays and in order to do so, we oversee a great deal of booking logistics. To cut through this red tape, we have tried to keep our commitment to you as simple as possible, but please do take care to read the following carefully and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to discuss any aspect of it in more detail.

Low deposit commitment

To confirm a booking, we will require a deposit of 10% to reserve your chosen hotel rooms, book the best guides and make all operational arrangements.

On occasion, there are also additional pre-payments required to secure certain hotels, cruises, flights, or other services where advance payment is mandatory. These will be clearly communicated to you at the time of booking.

Your balance will not be due until 60 days before departure. 

Date, destination & passenger flexibility – up to 30 days before departure

Having booked, if you subsequently need to postpone your planned holiday you have complete freedom to reschedule your trip to another date in the following 18 months (subject to availability). We will pass on no costs of our own for making these changes, however any booking surcharges or reductions in cost (such as seasonal differences) will be passed on to you. If you have committed to any additional pre-payments, these may be non-refundable and/or non-exchangeable.*

If a change of date is not suitable, we will be happy to switch your holidays to an alternative destination. The total amount paid, less any non-refundable pre-payments, will be moved over to your new chosen destination. In the event that there is any surplus, this will be held as credit for your next Selective Asia holiday (valid for 18 months), any shortfall will need to be paid.*

*Flights – Very Important: once issued, flight tickets are extremely inflexible. Name changes are not allowed; and date and route changes will often only be allowed for a charge if at all. We have many years’ experience in arranging both long-haul and intra-Asia flights, and will be extremely happy to discuss making more flexible flight arrangements with you.

Once within 30 days of your departure, changes to your booking can become more complex and/or expensive as we are committed to paying full balances to hotels, guides and suppliers on your behalf ahead of your arrival. However, we will do all we can to assist in the event that you did need to postpone.

What should I do about my 2020 booking?

With the UK FCO now warning against international travel, the possibility of returning to Asia over the summer and later into 2020 remains uncertain at best.

We’re hopeful that travel will begin to resume in the final quarter of 2020, and we await further updates to FCDO advice over the coming weeks.

We ask that you strongly consider postponing your holiday to later in the year or to 2021, and we’ll make this as straightforward and pain-free as we can. This really helps support the tourism industry and communities throughout Asia, and also ensures that your carefully planned and much anticipated holiday is still there on the horizon, just a little further back.