We are continuously monitoring the news and developments regarding the new coronavirus and its attendant disease (COVID-19), as well as its effects on travel and travel-related activities.
The situation is constantly evolving and we are aware that there is some confusion surrounding various aspects of travel abroad. Our position is that we are guided by the UK Government Foreign Travel Advice https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice If they advise against all ‘non-essential travel’, then we cancel the tour. If that tour has already been invoiced, we will refund the full amount, or transfer that amount to another tour.
However if the advice is that travel to the country in question is still allowed, then we will still run the tour. If that tour has been invoiced and we have past the confirmation date, then any cancellations may incur some penalties as per our Terms and Conditions.
Please note that some countries are imposing restrictions on incoming travellers if they have visited certain destinations in the previous two weeks, or have even transited through those destinations. Please consult the https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice website for the latest information regarding this. Some countries are also requiring a declaration of places visited in the two weeks prior to arrival.
For the most up to date information on developments with the spread of the virus, the best website to consult is probably that of the World Health Organisation https://www.who.int/ Good advice on basic precautions to reduce the chances of infection can also be found on the NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ and this website also has useful information for travellers https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/advice-for-travellers/
If you have any questions or concerns about your tour, please contact the Sunbird office.
About Us: Sunbird was originally created in 1979 as part of the Serenissima Travel Group of London. In 1980, Sunbird joined forces with the successful American bird tour operator WINGS, offering a wider choice of tours and with each company taking responsibility for those destinations where it had greater experience. In 1982, Sunbird was purchased from Serenissima by WINGS and David Fisher who established a new company - Conderbury Ltd. (trading as Sunbird). At that time Sunbird moved to Sandy in Bedfordshire with David Fisher as Managing Director. Steve Rooke took over as Managing Director from David in 2001 and the Sunbird office moved the short distance to the village of Potton in 2004. Conderbury’s Directors are Bryan Bland, David Fisher, Steve Rooke, and Will Russell (USA). Our office is staffed by Office Manager Jill Williams and Steve Rooke and is open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. although you may often find someone present outside of these times. Our telephone number is +44 (0)1767 262522, our fax number is +44(0)1767 262916, and our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
· all travel as described in the itinerary · departure tax · the protection of our own ATOL bond if you book flights through us
. the protection of our ABTOT bond if you book your own flights
· all accommodation
. all meals · drinks with meals
· all tour-based tips and collections
· all excursions
· the services of a professional leader
· Loyalty Discount Scheme
The items which you will be required to pay yourself are your individual requirements for passports, visas, travel insurance, and purchases of a purely personal nature. If you are trying to decide which company to travel with, or you are comparing prices, you should bear the above points in mind. A similar tour with a lower price may mean that the company in question might be cutting corners somewhere (some companies don’t include all meals, for example).
You are going to be spending a lot of money on your holiday and you have every right to expect it to run smoothly and without any problems. If you have any doubts about what is included in the tour cost, or about the leader’s experience in the country, call up the company in question and ask them.
International Flight Costs: Sunbird is happy to book international flights for you. However, we do not hide the flight cost in the main tour price. Flight costs vary dramatically and when pricing tours - sometimes up to 18 months before departure - it is often impossible to obtain an accurate price for the flights. Instead we show the flight cost as a separate amount which is our best estimate at the time we post the tour price on our website. When we come to invoice you for the tour we include the amount the flights actually cost us to buy. We think this is a much fairer system as it means any saving we get is passed on to you. Many companies include the price of the flights in their main tour cost which means you are unlikely to benefit if they obtain flights at a price lower than originally estimated.
Loyalty Discount Scheme: As a way of saying thank you to everyone who enjoys travelling with Sunbird, we have introduced a discount scheme to reward those that travel with us time after time. For every Sunbird tour you take, you will earn a 1% discount point. When you have accumulated five of these, you will be eligible to a 5% discount on your sixth trip. This scheme is back-dated so any tours taken since 2000 will count towards the scheme.
The maximum discount you can take at any one time is 5% and the discount applies to the basic tour cost, and does not include the single room supplement or international flight costs. Please note that the Loyalty Discount Scheme is not transferrable to another client nor a member of your family.
All you have to do when booking your next tour is include a list of the tours you have been on and the year with your booking form and confirm that this is the tour you want the discount to apply to, then we’ll do the rest. Note that booking on a WINGS tour through Sunbird, or direct with WINGS, still counts towards your total. However private tours booked direct with WINGS do not.
ATOL: Sunbird holds ATOL 3003. All companies arranging holidays abroad that include flights from the UK should hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). This guarantees that your money is protected and that you will be repatriated in the event of an airline or company going bankrupt. If the company you are travelling with does not hold its own ATOL, and is simply using the ATOL of another company, your money may not be adequately protected. More information about the ATOL can be found on the CAA website www.caa.co.uk Please note that only people booking on Sunbird tours directly with Sunbird are covered by our ATOL.
If you book on a Sunbird tour and choose to book your own flights, your money is protected in a client Account where it remains until your tour has ended. Operating an account such as this is a legal requirement and is covered by the EC Package Directive.
ABTOT: Anyone booking on a tour that does not include flights booked by Sunbird are not covered by our ATOL. For financial protection in these instances we hold a bond with ABTOT. The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT) provides financial protection under The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 for Conderbury Ltd 5414 (trading as Sunbird) and in the event of their insolvency, protection is provided for non-flight packages.
ABTOT cover provides for a refund in the event you have not yet travelled or repatriation if you are abroad. Please note that bookings made outside the EEA are only protected by ABTOT when purchased directly with Conderbury Ltd (trading as Sunbird).
In the unlikely event that you require assistance whilst abroad due to our financial failure, please call our 24/7 helpline on 01702 811397 and advise you are a customer of an ABTOT protected travel company. You can access The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/634/contents/made
Each tour-specific page contains:
Bird List. This is coded to show how many times each species has been seen, as well as giving the species seen on the most recent tour. It also has a brief description of the most recent tour written by the leader.
Tour Information, a set of notes relevant to that specific tour. As well as practical information about such things as visas and what to bring, there are also sections on Pace of Tour, describing how the tour runs and Accommodation, describing in detail the places we stay at, as well as information on Food, Climate etc. This information is designed to prepare you for the tour but again, if after reading this you have any questions, please contact us at the Sunbird office.
Map, a simple coloured map showing where the tour takes place and the main places visited. If one is available a copy will be bound inside the tour checklist.
Our Leaders: A good leader is crucial to the success of any tour and we are very pleased with the consistently glowing feedback we receive about Sunbird and WINGS leaders. Our leaders who take a real pride in their job and who look forward to sharing their passion for their favourite destinations with you. If you have a specific question about a tour that is best dealt with by the leader, we can arrange to put you both in touch. You can find a brief biography for each of the leaders who work for Sunbird here.
If you have recently started birdwatching, or if you have never taken a birdwatching tour abroad, and you have any questions about the suitability of a particular tour please contact the Sunbird office. We are happy to help in any way we can.
WINGS: The highly respected American bird-tour company WINGS, has been allied with Sunbird for almost four decades. It has an extensive programme beyond its co-operative ventures with us, and many regular Sunbird participants have taken a WINGS tour.
Their many trips are described in full on their website www.wingsbirds.com If you can’t find quite the right tour for you within the Sunbird programme, we suggest you consider a WINGS trip. Bookings for WINGS tours can be made through the Sunbird office.
Please note when looking at the WINGS website that the tour dates refer to the days when the tours start and finish in the country concerned. WINGS tours normally start in the evening and finish in the morning. People travelling from London may need to allow an extra day for travel at either or both ends, and depending on arrival and departure times may have to spend some of the first or last day on their own. Sunbird is happy to book suitable flights from the UK upon request, but please note that the prices given do not include the cost of such international flights. Participants booking their own flights, shouldn’t commit themselves to non-refundable deposits until Sunbird has confirmed that the tour is certain to take place. The latest date for this will be 70 days before the start of the tour.
Apart from flights, WINGS tours are fully inclusive and, as with Sunbird tours, all meals and accommodation are included in the tour price. The prices on their website are in US dollars but please note there may be a small price reduction if you are paying Sunbird, or paying WINGS direct by some method other than credit card. You can check the latest exchange rate at www.XE.com
Terms and conditions: Please take time to read our Terms and conditions before making your booking.
What Data we Collect: When you contact us to request a brochure, either by phone, email or in person at events such as the Bird Fair, we keep a note of your name, postal address, and email address if supplied.
If you subsequently book on a tour, we additionally keep a record of your gender, passport details (date of issue, date of expiry, your date of birth), any dietary or other travel requirements, health issues or special needs you wish to make us aware of, your preferred contact in the event of an emergency, your phone number and mobile phone number, and fax number if supplied. We also keep a record of which tours you have travelled on for the purposes of our Loyalty Discount Scheme. We also record the date that you contacted us and, if we have that information, how you first came to Sunbird.
We do not use ‘cookies’ on our website or store any information on what use you have made of our website. We do not record or store any financial information such as bank account or credit card details.
What we do with the data we collect: We will from time to time send you print or email newsletters and our annual brochure. If you book on a tour we may need to send details of your passport, or information on dietary issues to airlines to book flight tickets, to ground agents to notify hotels of any special diets, or to hotels directly. We also circulate a list of everyone taking part on the tour to everyone else on the tour. This list contains an abbreviated physical address and your email address. We ask you at the time of booking if we can do this or if you prefer not to have your email address included. Your tour leader is also sent a copy of your passport details and information on any dietary or health issues to assist him with the running of the tour. If you have booked through us on a tour managed by WINGS, we will send a copy of your booking form and the information contained therein to WINGS.
What we do not do with your data: We do not send or sell your data to any outside bodies or organisations for marketing or other purposes, other than to airlines, hotels and ground agents related to any tour you may have booked on as described above.
How long do we keep your data: Your details are kept by us for as long as we need it based on the original reason for contacting us. We conduct periodic reviews of your data and remove any that we feel is no longer needed. If you book on a tour, your booking form and any associated correspondence is kept for a minimum of seven years as is legally required by HM Revenue and Customs.
You have the right to ask us to confirm if we have any information on you, and to request a copy of that information.
You have the right at any time to request that we remove all data we hold on you, except where we have a legal requirement for purposes such as HM Revenue and Customs.
If at any time you feel that data you have sent to us has been leaked, you should contact us immediately with all the details.
Updated: May 2018