When COVID-19 impacted destinations around the world in March, travel everywhere was interrupted, borders were closing and governments were grounding international flights. We were operating several of our Exotics tours then, including Magic of Morocco. As you might imagine, our guests were anxious to return home and our operations team at our Wilton headquarters moved into high gear.
“Thinking back to March I must admit is a bit of a blur, we were all pretty consumed working on getting guests home from not only Morocco, but about a dozen other countries that were shutting down borders at the same time and faster than we could keep up with the news.
While we did look at getting a private plane to get our Morocco guests home, we were ultimately successful in securing space on a repatriation flight to the UK. It was really thanks to the tireless work of Product Manager Kelly Rossiter and Tauck Directors Chris Morrison and Silvana Lusso. It was extremely difficult to get any answers from the Moroccan Embassy and they spent night and day calling, waiting in lines at the embassy, working through our local operators and anyone we could find to help with a solution. All the while keeping our guests safe and comfortable as possible during a very stressful time.” – Joanne Gardner, Vice President, World Wide Operations
Tauck Director Silvana Russo recounts the complicated logistics in returning home:
“We were stranded with guests whose flights had been cancelled. Once the guests were safely aboard a British Airways plane arranged by the US government, we tried to find a way back to Spain. We were living in the 40 acre compound of the Four Seasons Hotel, just Chris and I. We were living out The Shining! After a few days, logically the hotel had to shut down and we had to find a place to live. The country was at a standstill under quarantine. We found temporary accommodations in the eerily empty Medina of Marrakech where we adopted the only other living resident there at the time, a kitten we named Angie Tauck. Before we were able to return to Spain on an Iberia plane sent by the Spanish government to Casablanca on April 4, we found a loving home for Angie, where she lives like a princess today.”
No strangers to unexpected events, our TDs are skilled in caring for our guests and assuring their comfort and safety in all kinds of eventualities – care gratefully appreciated by the guests whose comments follow:
“Our overall experience was outstanding, mainly due to the circumstances. The itinerary was creative, comprehensive and unique. Hotel location, room quality and service were outstanding. Our Tauck Director Chris Morrison more than rose to the occasion on this very challenging journey. Our commercial/scheduled return flights were cancelled, but he relentlessly, 24/7, worked on getting us back home, which included going to the airport in the middle of the night several times, calling US embassy, consulate, Tauck office around the clock, hanging on the phone, foregoing sleep and eating while maintaining an upbeat, positive, kind and gentle disposition along the way. Without his expert guidance and dedication, it would be hard to imagine the favorable outcome we finally experienced at the end. This was my 16th Tauck trip and it reassured me more than ever before, in the knowledge that when you travel with Tauck, you are in the best of hands possible.” – Agnes Frank
“Wow what an experience for our first tour with Tauck. We picked the right company for our 40th anniversary trip to Morocco. With all that was going on, I doubt any other company would have done whatever was necessary to get us back to our beloved country, the US of A. We know that there was a lot going on in the background in the effort to bring us home. But our contact during the trip was the GREATEST tour director anyone could have, Chris Morrison. From the very beginning, Chris put in a genuine effort to get to know all of us. It started with informational emails and eventually a personal phone call on his part to introduce himself and assure us that he will be taking care of us. Take care of us he did. He wanted to make our experience as full as possible.” – Berdj and Katherine Feredjian
“I have just returned from Magic of Morocco. I am grateful for the herculean effort of Tauck in securing our return to the USA. Silvana Lusso our Tauck Director did an outstanding job of keeping our group informed, safe and healthy. Also, Chris Morrison contacts with the consulate in Casablanca were significant in moving forward of our rescue by British Airways. Thank you. I will continue my travels with Tauck.” – Pat Spayne