Like many other Kiama retirees, Janet Taverner and Stewart Johnson have been looking forward to an overseas trip this year.
“We planned on six weeks traveling around the Lombardy and Veneto areas, leaving Australia in early May and returning mid-June,” says Janet.
“We booked our return flights to Milan back in October 2019 with Qatar.”
Despite their destination being in the epicentre of the COVID-19 in Italy, the pair are still hopeful their trip may still be possible.
“We haven’t cancelled anything yet as our departure is still seven weeks away,” says Janet.
“I’m hoping for Trump’s miracle, where it will all just disappear when the weather warms, but I think even he has had to face reality and so may we.”
“Because we had booked well ahead of time we have been pretty relaxed about getting our money back, either from airlines and accommodation providers or through insurance.”
The airline has already announced it will reschedule flights or provide refunds for travel to affected countries on the dates they’ve booked.
Similarly, the AirBNB accommodation they have booked in Turin, Genoa, Padua, Verona, Mantua, Parma and Milan is able to be canceled without penalty a few days out.
“I feel sorry for the owners because if and when we cancel, no one is going to take our place and they will lose income,” says Janet.
At this stage, the couple think it is more likely that they will have to cancel, and rebook for September.
“With the museums closed and performances canceled, even if we were allowed to travel there it wouldn’t be worth it,” says Stewart.