Q&A: SpiceRoads on pedalling forward

BANGKOK, 13 August 2020: SpiceRoads turned back the clock four years this week and recalled co-owner Struan Robertson after a four-year hiatus to navigate the cycling tour specialist through the Covid-19 storm.

We posted questions (see also report SpiceRoads recalls Roberson) to the veteran tour operator to fill out the details and tells us how the land lies for cycle tour adventures.

On returning to SpiceRoads
“The ownership structure hasn’t changed, but given the current situation, we decided it was time for me to come back and take over the leadership of the company.”

On weathering the Covid-19 storm
“As with every travel company, the Covid-19 storm is having a very

serious impact on our business. We have had to cancel all tours through to the end of October and given the recent announcements are not expecting Thailand tour to operate this year. We are more hopeful that other destinations we offer will be operating soon and we are confident that our Sri Lanka tours will be running from November onwards.”

On coping and downsizing
“Like every travel company, we have had to restructure and reduce the size of our team so that we can survive through this period and have done the necessary restructuring, which we believe puts us in a position to manage until the crisis ends with existing funds.”

When will bookings return?
“While we are not expecting much business in 2020, we are still seeing a good amount of interest from our loyal clients for 2021 and are receiving enquiries, so we know that people will travel as soon as borders reopen. As we operate in over 30 countries, we are not entirely dependent on Southeast Asia, and we believe that we should be operating tours in some places reasonably soon. As well as Sri Lanka we are hopeful other destinations such as Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Georgia will allow tourism to return and we expect remote destinations to be more attractive.”

Are there any positive takeaways?
“Yes, most of our clients are by definition adventure travellers we sense there should be some resilience in our sector, and our clients will potentially start travelling before mainstream travel sectors.

“What is also very encouraging is that we see a resurgence in cycling as a clean and healthy way to travel and that there is a lot of research out there showing how hard it is to transmit the virus outside, so we hope that once borders do reopen people will realise that cycling is the best and healthiest way to see the world.”

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