Well, Now that the dust is settling (ouch!) over European skies we thought we would drop you a line to update you on affairs on the Costa del Sol in the wake of this latest disaster to hit our industry.
Hero of the hour Willie Walsh.
The travel sector is one which seems to hobble from crisis to crisis – in this decade alone we have endured 9/11, various food related travel paralysis, swine flu, a recession and now a volcano. The volcano coming after the worst winter in living memory in southern Iberia was quite untimely.
However the industry is resilient if only because you the traveller love to do just that – travel.
The last 10 days have been a very stressful period with staff working flat out to cope with the problems faced by our clients. We were busy repatriating golfers overland to Ireland, UK, Norway and France. Others choose to sit tight and see the storm out. These were accommodated and taken care of and most actually enjoyed the prolonged period and some fine weather.
We had numerous cancellations over the last 10 days. Our policy has been to refund all money or to reschedule if clients could arrange new dates. Many of these groups were able to roll-over the booking to future dates. Others cancelled and rebooked immediately when the skies suddenly reopened on Monday 19th April. Most of our suppliers, the hotels, golf courses and transport companies all cooperated and in the spirit of a real disaster “played ball” by ignoring the usual stringent cancellation policies. For this we would like to thank them.
Serious questions will have to be asked about the events and the management of the crisis. The politicians, aviation experts, air traffic controllers and meteorologists all seemed to have been a little at sea in coordinating a response.
I personally feel that the travelling public owe a debt of gratitude to British Airways CEO, Willie Walsh, who single handedly seems to have convinced the other sector decision makers that enough was enough and to allow planes to fly again. Walsh, a former pilot himself had the authority and credibility to bang heads together and get things moving.
We are not so impressed by the policy of the other infamous Irish aviator Michael O’Leary whose Ryanair simply issued a statement that they were closed for business until whenever the dust settled. And when it did that they would only refund passengers the amount of their tickets in total defiance of the EU charter on Air travel. Mr O’Leary needs to realise that with flying passengers on return tickets comes responsibilities and consequences and if he needs to factor this into his pricing policy so be it.
Good Golf News
Valle Romano Golf Club in Estepona has now opened and we are delighted to say that it lives up to the hype. This Cabell Robinson (Finca Cortesin & La Reserva) designed course is setting the standard in terms of service and value for money. It is a very open course measuring 6000m off the yellows and is relatively flat although buggies are recommended due to the distances between greens and tees.
The greens are very large and undulating and the club house is among the most impressive on the Costa del Sol.
We have a great “opening” offer of €55 up to the end of September so we would highly recommend you including Valle Romano in your itinerary – you won’t be disappointed.
New Terminal 3 open at Malaga Airport
Note that you will now be arriving into the new terminal at Malaga Airport. If you have rented a car with us, the Espacar representative will meet you as you enter the arrivals hall. Do not go to the car-hire desk area. Unlike in the past he will not have your name on display but will have an Espacar logo.
If you do not see him immediately wait with the other car hire reps as he is probably out taking care of another client and will return very shortly.
We reiterate our call for clients to book their car-rentals for peak periods early this year. The shortage of cars will remain a feature throughout the year so for summer, Easter and all school breaks contact us as soon as possible.
We recommend as usual our preferred partner “Espacar” at Malaga and Gibraltar airport.