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Recently, the rand experienced another wild ride, currently sitting at R14,66 to the US Dollar on Tuesday 30 October.
Despite tumultuous economic changes, Flight Centre’s Price Drop Protection promises to credit travellers the difference in the form of a travel voucher if they find a cheaper flight elsewhere.
“It gives a customer peace of mind when booking in a time of rand, dollar and oil price uncertainty, to secure their travels,” says Andrew Stark, Managing Director of the Flight Centre Travel Group Middle East and Africa. “Should the price drop for whatever reason, we will pay back the difference.”
The customer in question had planned to travel from Durban to Auckland in March 2019 and was refunded the difference between his paid-for online flight and the advertised fare in the form of a Flight Centre flight travel voucher.
If the price of the ticket, booked on the Flight Centre South Africa website or app only (as of 5 September 2018), drops before the departure date and the traveller finds a cheaper fare, Flight Centre will give the difference back in a travel voucher, valid for 12 months to be used on their next flight.
“I believe it is a first in the travel industry, which secures our position as market leaders,” says Stark.
Analysts predicted in January that the rand value could reach R14,50 to the US dollar, or even R15 by the end of the year, projections which are looking increasingly accurate.
Despite harsh economic conditions, Flight Centre’s forward bookings for 2019 indicate that travellers are still booking flights and holidays.
London tops the charts for forward flight bookings for 2019. Auckland, Perth, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, as well as Phuket and Mauritius, make up the top ten.
“South Africans are still enjoying local breaks with Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban the three local destinations in the top ten flight bookings for 2019,” says Nicky Potgieter, Flight Centre Leisure Marketing Leader.
“Internationally, our top three sellers on room nights historically have been Thailand, Mauritius and South Africa,” Potgieter adds.
“Making an appearance in the forward accommodation bookings for 2019 are Thailand and Mauritius with a somewhat surprising addition, Dubai, in third place. Zanzibar, Singapore, Kuta and Venice are in the top ten mix too.”
Regarding expectations for travel in 2019, Stark says: “I wish I had those answers. We forecast tough trading conditions ahead but are highly optimistic that within the next 12 months, conditions will improve for South African travellers.
“Flight Centre is in the people business of providing customers with good value for money travel offers,” he adds. “We will always be here if something goes wrong, and our people are highly passionate about travel. We will never lose a customer over price. Lowest airfares are guaranteed.”