Cathy Elliott is the Owner & Managing Director of Peregrine Travel Centre SA. She has a personal message for all of our loyal clients and supporters.
I have been part of the travel industry for many years, perhaps for more than I care to admit. I remember when there were no computers or other tools of the trade. We looked up flight schedules and airfares in books; and back then the airlines all played nicely, and we could mix airlines across fares. There were only three fares – first, economy and apex/advance purchase. We would call Qantas to make reservations and then we would hand write tickets. To book hotels we would look up options, again in two volumes of huge books, and then call a tour company in Australia to make the reservations; or if you happened to work for a really progressive agency you would send a telex. Oh, how much things have changed!
Throughout the years the industry has seen its fair share of challenges; pilot strikes, airline collapse, natural disasters, terrorism, GFC and of course many global diseases – SARS, MERS, H1N1, Bird Flu, Swine Flu and Ebola, all of which we have bounced back from, and none of which have been like the current circumstances. This, I think, will be the challenge of all challenges, and it is clear not all businesses will survive intact, or survive at all.
My objective right now is to ensure the continual operation of Peregrine Travel Centre SA. For over 30 years we have helped create travel experiences for South Australians and in recent times clients from interstate and overseas.
Our good business planning and having money in the bank have set us in good stead. The recent government stimulus packages and the generous reprieve in rent from our landlord is appreciated, but it is the unknown duration and depth of impact that is requiring hard decisions to be made.
The livelihood of six people now rests in my ability to manage us through this pandemic of Coronavirus. The six people employed by Peregrine Travel Centre SA have over the past few weeks, and in particular the last two weeks, demonstrated why they are not only exceptional employees, but exceptional people. They have stayed late, come in early, worked weekends and truly shown the meaning of commitment. All the while at the mercy of constantly changing rules, restrictions and client needs. They have evacuated stranded passengers, rebooked arrangements and listened to angry and offensive clients, knowing that it is not really directed at them personally.
The six people are intelligent, dedicated, knowledgeable, committed, incredibly caring of all their clients and amazingly supportive of their colleagues. They have continued to work to the very best of their ability for their clients and for the industry they are passionate about, under incredibly stressful conditions. Even now they continue to attend to clients, knowing that I have had to make the absolute gut-wrenching and heartbreaking decision to reduce hours from the end of this month. I, and you, are fortunate to have such devoted people.
Peregrine Travel Centre SA will remain open Monday – Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm, but each member of the team will be reducing their hours by 40% from 30th March. We envisage that at some point in time we may be forced to work remotely, as we still have bookings in place right through until 2022. We will keep you updated as to how this will work. For the safety of all staff, and in keeping with the Government social distancing guidelines, we will no longer be taking in-person appointments or walk-ins. Instead, we will conduct all necessary consultations over the phone for the foreseeable future. These measures, and others that may be introduced, are necessary to ensure our viability and longevity and to assist you with future travel plans. There will come a time when this will be over, just as all the previous challenges and changes have become part of reminiscences with previous colleagues or long-standing and loyal clients.
I can’t imagine people will forego all the benefits that travelling creates. It provides opportunities to experience destinations, cultures, sites, history and activities. It generates new friends, better understanding, tolerance and awareness. It educates, revitalises, challenges and inspires us. It can bring us closer to family and helps us to appreciate home.
I know you may not be ready to travel just yet, nor may you be even ready to start planning, but when you are, know that the incredible team will be here and will be ready to help. And if you have arrangements in place for later in the year, we ask you to be patient. Wait and see what transpires. But, if you are unsure about travelling, don’t cancel…postpone. Please support our local business and support tourism, an industry that we are extremely passionate about.
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