|First and foremost, we hope that you all are safe and well. Like so many others, the COVID-19 pandemic has radically shaken our industry in unprecedented ways. Indeed, we stand in solidarity with all of those who have been impacted by this virus, and we are working tirelessly to find new ways to meaningfully engage with our mission in this new paradigm. |
The health and safety of our clients is, and always has been, our first priority. Our entire team at GATA is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of State, the World Health Organization, as well as multiple other sources. We continue to make decisions and revise plans as information is released, and will immediately communicate any information that is pertinent to your planned program. At this time, we have suspended all GATA programs through the month of July. We are hopeful that the global situation will improve and that we will be able to proceed with trips planned for August 2020 and beyond. We will not, however, resume travel until it is clearly safe to do so per State Department and CDC recommendations. We are prepared to evolve along with the rapidly changing global crisis, and we will update you with any further changes in GATA’s programming. In light of this unprecedented situation and uncertain future, we are also adapting our policies and activities to better serve our travelers. For those of you interested in booking future trips, we have updated our cancellation policy so that, should GATA have to cancel your program due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will offer you a full refund, and apply your deposit in full to a future program with GATA.
In addition to our policy updates, we are also looking for creative ways to continue serving our clients as well as supporting our community partners during this challenging time. We are particularly concerned about the small local communities that we work closely with in both Ecuador and Costa Rica, and the impact this pandemic will have on them, as they are reliant on educational tourism to maintain both their way of life and the vital conservation work they do. Our business model has always been twofold–to facilitate incredible, life changing experiences for our travelers, and, just as importantly, to support local communities in a meaningful and lasting way and facilitate authentic intercultural connections.
In order to continue that mission during these challenging times, we will be creating new opportunities to connect our communities and destinations with our temporarily grounded travelers. The idea is that, if we can’t take you to the communities, the next best thing is to bring the communities to you. We already have ideas for custom-designed programs that will virtually connect students and organizations with small communities in Ecuador and Costa Rica, and we are hoping that you’ll be interested in participating! We will be reaching out to schools to design an educationally rich and relevant program based on their curricula, and are always open for new and innovative ideas of how to continue the work we are so passionate about.
Please contact us with any questions you may have during these uncertain times. Again, we hope that you are well and taking measures to keep yourself safe and to help slow the spread of this disease.
|Most Sincerely, Alex, Rayna, and the GATA team|