Terms and Conditions
Bluetail Birding Limited is incorporated under the Companies Act 2006 as a Private Company limited by shares and registered in England and Wales (Company Number 11807144). Bookings are accepted only in accordance with the full Terms and Conditions set out below, please read them carefully.
FINANCIAL PROTECTION & INSURANCE
As a UK based tour operator, we are fully compliant with the strict consumer protection legislation set out in ‘The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018’, designed to protect the consumer against the failure of a travel business supplier.
We achieve this through membership of Protected Trust Services Ltd. Any client funds paid for bookings taken on or after 6 March 2021 are fully protected and held in a trust account by Protected Trust Services Ltd. When you pay for your tour, your money is paid directly into the trust account, administered by independent trustees, and is held in trust until your tour has been completed and all associated suppliers and ground agents have been paid in full.
If you would like to verify our membership, or have any questions about how the scheme works, the Protected Trust Services team will be happy to help. You can find more information here or by calling Protected Trust Services on +44 (0)20 7190 9988.
Our PTS membership no. is 5579.
Any existing bookings prior to 6 March 2021 are not subject to Protected Trust Services Ltd arrangements. All client funds paid for bookings taken prior to this date have been fully protected against cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Bluetail Birding Limited through financial failure insurance arranged by Towergate Chapman Stevens through Zurich Insurance PLC. This insurance has been extended to cover pre-existing bookings rescheduled as a result of COVID-19 until 31.12.2022.
Bluetail Birding Limited is a fully insured company with specific Tour Operators’ Liability Insurance. Whilst our insurance cover provides cover for our activities, it is still a requirement set out in these terms and conditions that you must hold your own personal travel insurance to cover you and your personal effects for the duration of your tour with us.
BOOKING & PAYING FOR A TOUR
If you would like to book a place on one of our scheduled departure tours, or a private/custom tour, please first check availability by calling us on 07500 185058 (international +44 7500 185058) or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are happy to hold provisional reservations for up to 14 days.
Before making a booking, please be sure to read these Terms and Conditions.
To confirm your booking, please complete our booking form and send to us by post or by email.
Your booking form should be accompanied by the appropriate deposit payment, as specified in each tour page. Once we receive your completed booking form and deposit, we will acknowledge your booking by sending you a tour confirmation form. At this date a contract will come into force between us. Our written confirmation of your booking means that we agree to operate your tour as stated on our website: http://www.bluetailbirding.com.
Late booking enquiries are welcome, however please note that bookings accepted within 120 days of the tour start date must be accompanied by full payment.
The person signing the booking form warrants that he/she has the authority to accept the terms of these booking conditions on behalf of all other persons named therein. This person will be deemed the ‘lead name’ on the booking for all correspondence.
Unless specified otherwise in the tour description, an invoice for your tour will be included in your tour confirmation letter. This will detail the amount due and the payment due date. If any amendments/additions are subsequently requested by you we will send a revised version of your invoice, otherwise an email reminder, before your balance of payment is due. The balance of payment must be received by us no later than 120 days before the tour is due to commence.
If full payment has not been received by the due date, we reserve the right to treat your booking as cancelled and levy the appropriate cancellation charges. Furthermore, should you wish to continue with your booking you will be responsible for payment of any additional costs that may arise as a result of your late payment. If you will be away from home when the tour payment is due, please contact us to make arrangements for early payment.
All payments must be made by electronic bank transfer in GB Pounds Sterling into the Protected Trust Services trust account:
Account Holder: Trustees of PTS Air Travel Trust
Bank Account Number: 83664597
Sort Code: 40 40 14
Bank Name: HSBC Bank plc
Bank Address: 19 Minster Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 1TE, United Kingdom
To make an international payment, non-GB customers will also need the following details:
International Bank Account Number (IBAN): GB82HBUK40401483664597
SWIFT Business Identifier Code (SWIFT/BIC): HBUKGB4B
Please note we do not accept part-payment of deposit or balance payments.
We will send you written confirmation of all monies paid. On receipt of your final payment, we will send you the travel information and species checklists applicable to your particular tour.
CANCELLING OR TRANSFERRING A BOOKING
Cancellation must be notified to us in writing (email is acceptable) by the ‘lead name’ and will take effect on the date received by us. In the event of you cancelling your booking with us, the following cancellation charges will apply:
More than 120 days before departure: Loss of deposit
120-91 days before departure: 50% of tour cost
90 days or less before departure: 100% of tour cost
Please note that in many cases we would have paid out deposits to secure accommodations and services months in advance, therefore any variations to our standard cancellation charges as described above are at our discretion.
To protect yourself against unforeseen cancellation please ensure that you purchase comprehensive travel insurance (see Travel Insurance) as early as possible. If your reason for cancellation falls within the terms of your insurance, these cancellation charges (less any excess applicable) will normally be refunded by your insurance company.
If you are unavoidably prevented from proceeding with your holiday, you may have the opportunity to transfer your booking to another person provided we receive written notification from the ‘lead name’. You will be responsible to payment of all extra costs arising from the transfer.
If you wish to transfer your booking from one tour to another, we may be able to accommodate your request providing this does not change the operational status of the tour you are already booked on and provided we do not incur any costs relating to your cancellation. In such cases, a transfer will be treated as a cancellation and rebooking, and the relevant cancellation charges will apply.
If circumstances force you to leave a tour early, or to follow a separate itinerary, you will be responsible for any additional costs involved, although these may be covered by your travel insurance. No refund will be given for any unused accommodation, meal or service provided as part of the tour.
Each tour (and tour extension) is considered to be separate and autonomous. Where you have booked on two or more consecutive tours (including tour extensions), please note that you will be unable to cancel your booking on a tour that has been confirmed as operational simply because another has been cancelled, whether through insufficient registrations or any other reason, without incurring normal cancellation charges.
TOUR ALTERATION & CANCELLATION
We do everything possible to operate each tour as advertised, however Bluetail Birding Limited and our ground agents reserve the right to modify our itineraries where we deem it necessary or beneficial. Most changes will be minor, such as but not limited to a change of leader, re-ordering of the itinerary, changes to the amount of time spent at each location, and accommodation substitutions. Such changes will not significantly impact the performance of the tour or your ability to travel and are not grounds for cancellation without charges.
If a major change is foreseen before the commencement of a tour we will advise you as soon as practicably possible. You may either agree to proceed with the revised tour, or if you prefer, you may cancel your booking and receive a full refund or transfer your booking to another tour, provided we receive written notification (email is acceptable) from the ‘lead name’ within 14 days of the date of our notification.
Where any modifications are made by a tour leader during a tour in progress then you must respect their professional capacity to make decisions on behalf of the tour party.
Please note that Bluetail Birding Limited will not be held responsible for any costs or losses you may incur, including any airline amendment or cancellation charges, as a result of either minor or major tour alterations that may become necessary as a result of unusual or unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control.
Our tours are subject to a minimum number of bookings being achieved to make the tour economically viable (see Group Size, Pricing & Small Group Surcharge). If a tour has insufficient reservations it will be cancelled by us no less than 8 weeks prior to the start date. We will keep you updated on group size throughout the booking process and will inform you of our decision to cancel as early as we are able.
If it becomes necessary for us to cancel a tour, through insufficient reservations or for any other reason within our control, you may either transfer your booking to an alternate tour or you may opt to receive a full refund. Should we be forced to cancel a tour due to war or threat of war, riots or political crises, threat of terrorist activity, strikes, industrial action, government intervention, natural or nuclear disaster, fire, weather conditions, outbreaks of communicable disease, other acts of God or any other events beyond our control which amount to force majeure, then we will transfer all monies paid to an alternative tour. If such a cancellation were to occur during the course of a tour in progress, no refund or transfer of monies will be possible. Comprehensive travel insurance that includes cancellation cover (see Travel Insurance) is therefore essential.
IMPORTANT: Our tour prices are land only and do not include international or domestic flights, which you will need to arrange personally. As all group tours are subject to achieving a minimum number of bookings you should not book your flights and any associated travel arrangements until we confirm that your chosen tour will operate.
Please note that Bluetail Birding Limited will not be held responsible for any costs or losses you may incur, including any airline amendment or cancellation charges, as a result of us cancelling a tour for any reason.
We do everything possible to operate each tour at the tour cost advertised, however we reserve the right to amend the price of a tour subject to increases (or decreases) that stem directly or indirectly from government action, fuel costs and changes to exchange rates since the tour was costed.
We will however absorb any cost increases for the reasons given above up to an amount equivalent to 2% of the tour price detailed in tour descriptions and our tour confirmation letter. If any cost increase exceeds 8% of the original total tour price, you may either agree to pay the increase, or if your prefer, you may cancel your booking and receive a full refund or transfer your booking to another tour, provided we receive written notification (email is acceptable) from the ‘lead name’ within 14 days of the date of our notification.
Please note that our standard cancellation charges will apply if you decide to cancel your booking following notification of a price increase that is 8% or less of the original tour price.
In instances where we are yet to receive costs from suppliers for future tours, the tour prices shown on our website will be marked as ‘provisional’. We are happy to accept bookings for such tours and will gladly refund your deposit or transfer your booking to another tour if you change your mind once final pricing is confirmed.
Group Size, Pricing & Small Group Surcharge:
We limit the group size of every tour to 8 participants, ensuring personal attention and enjoyable, productive birding. Very occasionally we may extend one person above our stated maximum to allow a couple or two friends travelling together, rather than a single person, to fill the final place on a tour.
Our published tour prices are applicable to a group size of 6-8 participants, and our minimum group size for any tour to go ahead at the published tour price is 6 participants. However, we are often able to confirm a tour with as few as 4 participants providing each group member agrees to pay an additional small group surcharge to cover the additional costs involved in the event that registrations for the tour do not increase to 6 or more. These surcharges are usually around 10% of the published tour cost for a group size of 5 participants and 20-30% of the published tour cost for a group size of 4 participants. The small group surcharges for each tour are detailed in the tour info.
Group tours present a compromise between group size and cost. Larger groups offer lower per person costs, whereas smaller groups offer an enhanced experience but higher costs. By pricing our tours at 6 participants and declaring the small group surcharge, we are clear and fair with the price you pay: should a tour operate with 6 or more persons you are not paying an inflated per person cost that has been calculated based on a group size of 4. We also appreciate that it is disappointing when a long-anticipated tour is cancelled. Our small group surcharges allow us to operate a higher percentage of our scheduled departure tours and enable participants to confirm their travel plans sooner rather than waiting for a larger group size to be met.
Where a group size is reduced to 4 or 5 participants by one or more cancellations, we reserve the right to cancel a tour unless the remaining participants agree to pay the additional small group surcharge applicable. In the instance that the remaining participants are unwilling to pay any additional charge, and the tour is cancelled, the tour payment will be refunded in full, however no further compensation will be payable.
Price Inclusions & Exclusions:
Our scheduled departure (group) tour prices include all accommodation as described in the tour pages of our website, tour info/travel notes and our tour confirmation letter, all meals (except where stated otherwise), filtered and/or bottled drinking water, all ground transportation throughout the tour including airport transfers, guiding, tour materials (our detailed tour info, travel notes and checklists), all birding and wildlife activities included in the itinerary, entrance fees, the cost of any applicable regional permits, all currently applicable taxes and service charges.
Visa fees may or may not be included depending on the destination country. Please note that estimated visa fees shown in the tour pages of our website are applicable to UK Nationals and may differ for other nationalities.
Our scheduled departure (group) tour prices do not include international and/or internal airfares (and any applicable taxes which may or may not be included in the ticket price), excess baggage charges, additional accommodation or transport costs incurred in arriving at or departing from the tour start/end point at the time/date specified, passport fees, travel insurance, vaccination or other health costs, any drinks other than water (soft drinks, hot drinks, alcoholic beverages), snacks, any activities not mentioned in the tour itinerary or those provided by lodges/hotels at extra cost, camera fees, laundry, telephone bills, any other expenses of a purely personal nature, tips to your tour leader, local drivers/guides/boatmen and accommodation/restaurant staff, and any charges associated with making your payment to us (bank transfer charges for example).
Our tour info provides specific details of the price inclusions and exclusions for each tour.
If you choose to travel on a private or custom (tailor-made) tour your price inclusions and exclusions may differ from those above. In particular, your tour cost may not include all meals, as there may not be a Bluetail Birding tour leader present at some mealtimes to pay for these items on your behalf.
Bluetail Birding Limited does not arrange ANY air travel, international or domestic. This allows you to book your international flights with your preferred airline, and on your chosen dates, providing you arrive at and depart from the tour start and end points at appropriate times.
You are also responsible for booking any internal flights integral to the tour itinerary. In some instances, you can book these flight sectors as part of your international itinerary, and in others these flights are easily and cheaply booked online with a reputable regional carrier.
We use small minibuses/coaches/passenger vans during most of our tours. Where necessary we use jeeps (4-wheel-drive or otherwise). Please bear in mind that standard in other countries may not be the same as those of your home country, and the level of comfort may be below that which you are used to.
We carefully select all accommodations based on their location, food and service. For the most part, we stay in comfortable hotels, motels, guesthouses and lodges of good standard, with rooms with attached bathrooms wherever possible. In some places we may use basic lodges or homestays, as these are the only viable options in remote areas.
Where any accommodation is lower than our usual standard this is specified in tour descriptions.
Single rooms (either by choice or if a suitable room-mate cannot be found) will incur a single room supplement as detailed in tour descriptions. We will do our best to provide single rooms to all those who request them, but bookings are only accepted on the understanding that you will consent to share in the event of an unexpected lack of single accommodation at any location. Likewise, bookings are only accepted from single travellers wishing to share a room on the understanding that you will consent to pay the single room supplement if a suitable room-mate cannot be found. Smokers should kindly note that smoking will not be permitted in your room if you are sharing with a non-smoker.
If you are travelling alone and wish to share a room, please mark your room preference as ‘Twin’ on your booking form and we will attempt to find you a suitable room-mate. If you wish to share a room with a friend who is booking separately, please make sure this is indicated on both booking forms. If you are a couple travelling together, please indicate your room preference of ‘Double’ (double-bedded; one large bed) or ‘Twin’ (twin-bedded; two single beds) on your booking form and we will try to provide you with your preferred room type wherever we can.
Most tours are inclusive of all meals, and the first and last meals included in the tour cost will be clearly mentioned in the travel notes for that tour. On these tours, meals often take the form of a buffet featuring both local and international cuisines. We can cater to special dietary requirements given advance notice, and you will be asked to detail any specific needs that you have on the booking form. A small number of destinations, particularly those within the USA, do not include meals. On these tours you will have the opportunity to order and purchase your own meals from a variety of eating establishments.
Birds and Mammals:
The species mentioned in tour descriptions are to serve as a guide only. You should not expect to see everything mentioned but you will see a high proportion of these if you have good eyesight and mobility and participate fully in the tour. Our guides will make every effort to ensure that every group member has the chance to see every species, but we will not enter into activities that will endanger or disturb wildlife and/or habitats solely to satisfy the demands of a tour participant.
Once we have received your balance payment, we will send you comprehensive travel notes for your tour. This will include joining/leaving instructions, details on passport and visa requirements, health considerations and vaccinations, currency, climate, a packing list, recommended field guides and any other relevant details. You will also receive a checklist of birds and mammals (and butterflies if applicable) for your tour.
Joining/Leaving a Tour:
We will provide clear instructions for both arrival and departure in your travel notes.
All participants are responsible for ensuring they arrive at the tour start point in good time. Please note that we would not usually be able to delay the rest of a group due to a late arrival, and any costs incurred with catching up with the tour would be your responsibility. Likewise, we will not be held responsible in the event of unanticipated delays that prevent you reaching the end point in time for your planned departure.
Extra Arrangements & Tour Extensions:
We will be pleased to quote for and book any hotel accommodation and airport transfers you need at the start or end of your tour. Should you wish to extend your holiday (by flying out early, delaying your return, or visiting an entirely unconnected area) we can arrange this for you.
Many of our itineraries are available as custom tours which we can operate for individuals, couples or private groups at a time to suit you. Please note that prices detailed in tour descriptions are those applicable to two persons travelling together with an itinerary and price inclusions identical to the scheduled departure (group) tour. Prices for custom tours will vary according to the final itinerary, duration, inclusions and group size.
Passport & Visa Requirements:
It is entirely your responsibility to ensure that you have a valid passport and where necessary a valid visa (unless we clearly state that we arrange this on your behalf). Your passport must be valid for at least six months after the end of your tour and must have at least two adjacent (facing) blank pages for your visa and entry/exit stamps.
Our travel notes will provide detailed information on any visa requirements as known to us at the time of issue. It is your responsibility to check these requirements and if necessary, to obtain your visa in advance from the appropriate authorities. We will accept no responsibility for your failure to check requirements or to secure the necessary travel documentation ahead of your tour.
Health and Vaccinations, including Certificate Requirements:
The travel notes we will send to you will provide detailed notes on the recommended immunisation requirements, Malaria risk and need for vaccination certificated as known to us at the time of issue. Because these recommendations change constantly, and may depend on your underlying health, it is your sole responsibility to seek the most up to date information from your GP or a travel health clinic. All costs arising out of failure to do so must be met at your own expense.
Restrictions on Participation and Fitness to Travel:
You must be in fit and in overall good health to participate in our tours and under no circumstance should you travel against medical advice. We rely on your own assessment of your ability to take part. If you have any medical condition or restriction, or more general concerns about your participation, please contact us prior to booking so we can offer advice specific to the tour you are interested in.
Our tours do not normally entail a large amount of strenuous activity. Tour participants should be able to complete moderate walks (unaided) over varying terrain. If an included activity is especially physically demanding this is clearly detailed in the tour description. Some destinations involve considerable travel times and require early morning starts and late returns to make best use of the most productive times of the day for birds and wildlife. Some tours are less intensive, incorporating more days at each location allowing a more relaxed itinerary.
There may be the opportunity to opt out of an excursion provided the itinerary and tour leader allow. Please note that we will not be held responsible for you while making a departure from the itinerary nor for any additional costs involved. Any group member wishing to partake of any activity outside the scope of the tour itinerary may do so only at their own risk and expense and providing this does not interfere with the progression of the itinerary.
Travelling as part of a group calls for cooperation from and consideration for all group members. Bluetail Birding Limited and our tour leaders reserve the right to remove from a tour any person unable or unwilling to conduct themselves in a manner compatible with the satisfactory operation of the tour, or whose behaviour has a negative effect on other members of the group. We and our tour leaders also reserve the right to dismiss any tour participant whose physical condition is considered detrimental to their own well-being or that of the group as a whole. In the event of a tour participant leaving a tour in progress we will make no refund, nor will we be liable to pay compensation, and any additional travel costs involved in your return home involved are your own responsibility.
It is a condition of booking with Bluetail Birding Limited that all travellers are covered by comprehensive travel insurance. Your insurance policy should provide adequate protection for loss of or damage to personal effects, missed departure/delays, accident, emergency evacuation, medical/repatriation expenses while abroad, and cancellation/curtailment charges. Note that as many of our tours take place in developing countries, passenger liability insurance covering the vehicles we hire may be inadequate and it is important that your insurance cover includes sufficient provision for you and your dependants in the event of an accident. We additionally suggest your policy includes cover for travel disruption or scheduled airline failure in the event that the airline you are travelling with ceases to exist. It is advisable that you obtain your insurance policy as soon as possible after booking your tour to cover any cancellation charges prior to the tour commencing.
Details of your travel insurance must be provided no later than 7 days before the start date of your tour.
Please note that regular travel insurance does not offer sufficient cover for expensive optical and photographic equipment. You should arrange to have these items covered under the terms of your household insurance policy or take out a specialised insurance to cover their value adequately.
We have taken all reasonable steps to ensure that the tours described in tour descriptions have been properly arranged and that ground agents, vehicle operators/hire, hotels, restaurants and any other organisations we use are reputable.
We will accept liability as a direct result of negligence or breach of our contractual duty to exercise care in making arrangements for you, including omissions by our agents. We will accept full liability for death, personal injury or illness arising out of our negligence or that of our employees, agents or suppliers, who may operate elements of your tour arrangements. In the case of any other loss or damage suffered as a result of our negligence or that of our employees, agents or suppliers we limit the maximum extent of our liability to twice the amount paid for the tour in question. We cannot accept liability for claims arising out of carriage by air, sea or land as we have no control over the carriers or providers concerned, and you are subject to their terms and conditions which are governed by international conventions which exclude or limit liability in respect of death, injury, delay and loss or damage to baggage. We will also not accept liability in respect of losses or additional expenses incurred as a result of transport delays including missed flights, flight changes or cancellations, sickness, quarantine, war or threat of war, riots or political crises, threat of terrorist activity, strikes, industrial action, government intervention, natural or nuclear disaster, fire, weather conditions, flood, outbreak of communicable disease, other acts of God or any other events beyond our control which amount to force majeure. Any additional costs that result, such as extra flights and hotel accommodation, will be your responsibility and must be paid for directly at the time, although you may be able to reclaim these under the terms of your insurance policy. We will not accept liability for any deficiency, personal injury or death that does not result from any fault on our part or on the part of our suppliers but is caused by your own acts and/or omissions, by the acts of omissions of a third party not connected with the provision of your holiday, or by circumstances which neither we nor our suppliers could have anticipated or avoided even exercising due care.
In the unlikely event that you have cause for complaint you should notify your tour leader (or our office, as appropriate) as soon as possible in order that the matter may be dealt with promptly. If a problem remains unresolved or is not dealt with to your satisfaction, please contact us in writing stating the nature of your complaint within 14 days of completion of the tour.
When you sign the booking form you are entering into a contract with Bluetail Birding Limited (a company registered in England and Wales with company number 11807144) deemed to have been made at our offices at The Roost, Leiston Road, Middleton, Saxmundham, Suffolk IP17 3NS. This means you agree to accept all the terms and conditions of booking. Our written confirmation of your booking means that we agree to operate your tour as stated on our website: http://www.bluetailbirding.com. The contract is governed by English law and is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.
At Bluetail Birding Limited we are committed to respecting and protecting your privacy, and that you feel your personal information is safe while you are using our services. We also recognise that it is important for you to understand how we use your personal information.
Personal information we collect and how we use it:
We will collect personal information from you when you make an enquiry or subscribe to our newsletter through our website. This includes your email address, first name, last name, country, phone number and any additional details of your travel plans which you may voluntarily give to us. We will use this information to respond to you via email, telephone and text message to provide the general marketing campaigns and personalised information that you have requested.
If you book a tour with us we will ask you to provide additional details about yourself and your travel arrangements (by email, telephone or other direct contact, or on our booking form). These are likely to include your home address, details of your passport and visas, your emergency contacts and travel insurance arrangements as well as certain sensitive personal information about you, namely specific details of any relevant health conditions, disabilities and dietary needs. We will use this information to try to ensure your trip is appropriate to any special requirements you might have, and to help us organise your trip and make the appropriate bookings on your behalf so that we can fulfil our contract with you.
We only have access to personal information that you voluntarily provide when you make an enquiry or subscribe to our newsletter through our website, or via email or other direct contact from you.
How we store, share and disclose the personal information we collect:
Wherever information is collected through our website, that information is encrypted and stored in a secure way. You can verify this by looking for a lock icon in the address bar and ‘https’ at the beginning of the web page address.
We also protect your information offline. Only we have access to the personal information you provide. Your information is stored securely, protected from unauthorised access, and retained for a limited and appropriate amount of time.
Sometimes we partner with other trusted third parties to provide services (such as local ground agents and accommodation providers etc. in the destinations we visit and email marketing platforms such as Mailchimp). We will share only the personal information that is necessary for the third party to provide these services, and only for the purpose of providing these services. We will not share your personal information with third parties for them to use for the purpose of sending you any marketing information or for those third parties to use your information for their own purposes.
Our website is hosted on the Wix.com platform. Wix.com provides us with the online platform that allows us to sell our products and services to you. Your data may be stored through Wix.com’s data storage databases and general Wix.com applications. They store your data on secure servers behind a firewall.
Your access to and control over the personal information we hold:
You may opt out of future marketing campaigns through the ‘unsubscribe’ option included in all email newsletters. You may opt out of any other future contact from us at any time, by contacting us via the email address or the phone number given on our website.
You may also ask us to:
Disclose what personal information we hold about you, if any
Correct any inaccurate your personal data or complete any incomplete personal data that we hold about you
Delete the data we hold about you
Express any concerns you have about our use of your data
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