THE IRISH TRAVEL Agents Association has claimed that the government’s new travel list could invalidate flight insurance for those who previously booked holidays to ‘green’ locations.
The government published the much-anticipated ‘green list’ of fifteen countries and territories last night.
However, while the publication was also accompanied with a message that the “safest thing to do is not to travel”, the Department of Foreign Affairs says anyone who travels to these locations should take “normal precautions”.
The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITTA) hit out at the government’s messaging, saying that a decision should be made to either cancel all flights refund customers, or stop requesting people to avoid non-essential travel.
The group has suggested that those who booked holidays to countries like Italy and Greece before March, and have not changed their plans yet, could have their insurance invalidated because they are now deemed safe to fly to.
Speaking on Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1 this morning, the group’s CEO Pat Dawson said things were no clearer than they were before the list was published.
“We’ve said it for weeks now when, when their bridges were spoken about when ‘green’ countries were spoken about, [the government] must remove non-essential travel, or it’s useless,” he said.
Dawson also suggested the list made no difference to consumers, claiming that those who cancel flights to ‘green’ locations will now receive no refund for doing so, as the non-essential travel ban is not covered by insurance.
The Association believes that if the Department of Foreign Affairs issues an advisory not to travel to locations on the list for non-essential reasons, consumers will be able to get their money back.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney rejected the claim that nothing had changed for consumers, saying that the government’s advice was still to avoid non-essential travel.
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The minister also urged insurance companies to act based on the government’s travel advice.
“I would expect that they would respond to the official travel advice on the Department of Foreign Affairs website,” he told Morning Ireland.
“The safest thing for everyone to do is not to take their holidays abroad.”
At the weekend, Insurance Ireland reminded consumers who planned to book a holiday to confirm whether they are covered before doing so.
In a statement, the group said that the ‘green list’ did not equate to a relaxation of the non-essential travel policy.