Toll Free: 800.328.8368 Phone: 512.328.5221

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE

August 25, 2021

Dear friends:

Since resuming tour operations this spring, we have successfully run all of our scheduled domestic departures to date. Most recently, tours to Colombia and Ecuador marked our return to international operations as well. In our last update (May), I expressed optimism for the prospects of many of our upcoming departures. While our level of confidence has indeed increased, the arrival of the Delta variant serves as a stark reminder that uncertainty and concern will continue to affect the travel industry for the foreseeable future. Yet, at the same time, the current situation reinforces the importance of the point we’ve made from the beginning: VENT’s decision-making regarding the operation of its tours will continue to be guided by caution and conservatism. Then, as now, central to our ability to operate tours is our Covid-19 vaccination requirement: All customers and tour leaders must be fully vaccinated in order to participate in a VENT tour.

By “fully vaccinated,” we mean that an individual is two weeks beyond having received the amount of vaccine required for reaching full immunity, to the degree CDC-authorized vaccines confer. This means either the two-shot sequence for the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. To this list we now include the two-shot Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which has received emergency use authorization by the World Health Organization and which the CDC, and therefore the U.S. Government, accepts as proof of vaccination. We will continue to update this information as needed. Meanwhile, I am pleased to inform you that, with an exception or two, all of our tour leaders are fully vaccinated.

The bottom line is that VENT will make its reasonable, best effort to keep its tour leaders and tour participants safe and healthy on its tours. We feel that the best chance for success in achieving this goal is through a vaccination requirement. A requirement is the surest way to provide our travelers with peace of mind about their fellow travelers and tour conditions in terms of health and safety. When someone joins a VENT tour and is in the company of fellow participants, they will have the assurance of knowing those people are there because they’ve been vaccinated. Moreover, vaccination will make international travel easier as we all navigate a potential host of airline restrictions and regulations and country entry requirements.

Underscoring our commitment to safe operation of our tours, we have developed a COVID-19 health and safety protocols document that provides guidance for the operation of our tours. This guidance is firmly rooted in information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Items we address in the document include, but are not limited to, mask-wearing, social distancing, dining protocols, accommodations, riding in vehicles, hand washing, and more.

We feel assured that all of our domestic tours will operate from now on. Our ability to operate international departures will continue to be determined on a case-by-case basis, although we are increasingly confident about our prospects for these tours as well. For any tour whose future is in question, we will continue our policy of deciding no less than six weeks prior to a tour’s start date whether it will operate; however, conditions and circumstances continue to evolve, as always, and for that reason, situations may exist when waiting until after the six-week marker may increase our chances of operating a tour. Should you be affected by the cancellation of a tour, I assure you that our Operations team will be in contact with you. Should we have to cancel a tour, your funds may be moved to another tour or you may receive a full refund.

VENT office staff employees continue to work largely from home. Regardless, you should know that VENT most definitely remains open for business! As always, you can reach us by email (info@ventbird.com or, for a specific employee, employee first name@ventbird.com). You can also reach us by phone (512-328-5221 or 800-328-8368). When making a call, you will reach our receptionist/staff assistant, Connie Buck, who will connect you to the appropriate staff member or respective voice mailbox. If calling after hours, or when Connie is away from her desk, you will hear a general greeting, at which time you can reach the voice mailbox of any of our staff members.

If you would like to reach Victor directly, please call his mobile phone: 512-656-2687. All of us have the ability to check our voice messages regularly. We will return email and voice messages as promptly as we can.

Please visit this page regularly for future updates.

Your support has been critical in our ability to get through this unprecedented time. We hope you will stay healthy and look forward to joining us on another great trip.

Best wishes,

Victor Emanuel
President and CEO
Victor Emanuel Nature Tours