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Irish Rugby Tours Keeps Calm As COVID-19 Shutdown Halts Touring

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Irish Rugby Tours Keeps Calm As COVID-19 Shutdown Halts Touring

Tours will be back.

The COVID-19 outbreak has shut down rugby globally at all levels. However, the shutdown has had an even greater affect on touring teams.

Groups that had spent time, effort and money in putting together an overseas tour were forced to cancel what for many, was to be the trip of a lifetime.

Imagine also the trauma for groups in mid-tour facing unforeseen difficulties in getting home.

George Hook, Managing Director of Irish Rugby Tours called it “the most difficult period in the 20-year history of the company. First and foremost we had to protect the interests of tour groups to ensure that travel home was organized for those abroad also refunds from hotels and airlines for those yet to travel.”

Hook recalled a quote from writer Rudyard Kipling's poem If and used it to guide him: “If you can keep your head when all about you, are losing theirs.”

"It was vital we stayed calm to protect the interests of our clients," said Hook. "Timing flight cancellations was important in the quest for refunds. If we moved too early, groups could have lost money." 

Moving tour dates, rather than seeking refunds, was also a better option because the refunds might not have been for full value. IRT worked tirelessly with clients to provide the best value. One US-based team has moved its tour to the fall, while others have opted to take their tour a year later. By moving the tours, IRT was able to make sure all the deposits and money already paid will get full value.

Travel will never be the same, but rugby teams will want to experience the enjoyment of different cultures and the learning experience of seeing different approaches to the game.

“Irish Rugby Tours,” said Hook, “will have to adapt to the new realities. Twenty years a growing, has prepared us for the challenge.”