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Casting away concerns—the Travel Assurance way

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As a veteran of the travel trade in the Sultanate of Oman, Dinesh Poojary, General Manager, Eihab Travels, has the inside track on the industry in the country. , a constituent company of the premier business conglomerate Oman Holdings International (OHI), was established in the Omani capital Muscat over a quarter century ago to offer integrated tourism and travel services in the Sultanate.

Dinesh Poojary is a firm advocate of acquiring travel assurance given the volatility and unpredictability in today’s global environment. He shares his concerns and explains the indispensability of travel insurance and appropriate cover when travelling to Oman, in an exclusive interview with Travel Bulletin Middle East.

Arijit Munshi, General Manager, Tune Protect, EMEIA, also shines the light on the necessity of taking insurance and the resulting insulation a good and adequate insurance policy can provide in adverse and precarious situations.

 

Do you see value for visitors travelling to Oman, to have a travel cover? Why?

Dinesh Poojary (DP): The traveller on a holiday needs to relax or if on a business trip must be able to focus on work commitments. Given a busy agenda, the traveller need not worry about mishaps, medical or flight-related issues and other unforeseen incidents before or during the journey.

The traveller cannot predict emergencies when touring for leisure or business. Unexpected circumstances may force the traveller to cancel or alter flight plans or reset the return trip due to accidental medical emergency treatment at the destination or return home early due to an emergency.

Therefore comprehensive travel protection is a must for any traveller. Most travel protection plans offer a multitude of benefits such as medical conditions, cancellations and loss of baggage under a single policy for a nominal fee. Even if the traveller’s journey does hit a bump on the road, the traveller is worry-free without associated distractions.

 

What are the adventure activities that a visitor needs to ensure that they have an Adventure Assurance program?

DP: While travellers have different definitions of adventure travel, it is usually characterised by physical exertion or activities with high risk. Most physical activities typically involve some degree of risk and possibly even danger.

Avid and frenzied adventurers will seek the adrenaline rush that this genre of tourism creates by stepping out of their comfort zone and pushing their limits. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement, the thrill of new experiences and to put safety low on the priority list, but a common theme in adventure travel is that many activities are often in remote locations, far from medical support.

Standard travel insurance usually covers some level of activities engaged for leisure, entertainment, fitness or recreation purposes. Anything more extreme, such as rock climbing, scuba diving, zip-lining, mountaineering, skydiving and much more is not typically covered by the standard policy.

Optional coverage specifically designed to cover extreme and adventurous sports can be added to your policy. It is essential to review the list of sports and adventure activities that are covered with this option.

Would a traveller in Oman with a medical emergency during the visit be covered within the Travel Visit Assurance plan for medical related expenses?

Arijit Munshi (AM):  Yes indeed. Tune Protect Travel Visit Assurance provides protection in event of medical assistance required while visiting Oman. This would include pre and post-hospitalisation expenses along with repatriation expenses.

During travel to Oman, if the traveller falls sick or there is an event of unexpected illness or accidental injury, travel protection from Tune Protect will keep the traveller protected during his stay in Oman. By taking travel protection plan, a holder is essentially covering himself or herself against travel risk as also expenses incurred on sudden repatriation – moving back to the traveller’s residence country in case of an unforeseen event.

Will the traveller current health or medical insurance cover the travel adventure activities in Oman?

AM:  Adventure travel is considered one of the fastest-growing trends in the tourism industry, globally and particularly for Oman, the second largest country in the GCC.

On an average over a million internet surfers look for adventure travel in Oman. Most adventure activities typically involve some degree of risk and even danger. Basic travel insurances and standard health or medical insurances generally don’t cover activities with high risk areas particularly adventure travel, and that is why it is extremely important for the travellers to carefully review the insurance policy to ensure that it is comprehensive and covers for unplanned events during adventure activities.

The traveller must verify the terms of the health insurance policy and health care expenses while travelling to Oman or anywhere else in the world when it comes to adventure travel. If the traveller is not covered or is unsure of the plan they have in the home country, purchasing supplementary insurance specifically tailored to adventure travel is recommended and mandatory.