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General Terms and Conditions of Travel (GTC)

Big Cats of India GmbH, Altwiesenstrasse 181, 8051 Zurich (V3.0, July 2023)
 

1. Subject of this GTC

1.1.These GTC regulate the legal relationship between the customer and Big Cats of India GmbH, hereinafter referred to as the travel agency. The travel agency specializes in advising, arranging and organizing tiger and other big cat safaris as well as ornithological and individual themed trips to India and Nepal.

1.2.The present GTC are applicable if the travel agency is the organizer of the booked trip or offers other services in its own name. This also applies if the travel agency brokers a trip within the meaning of Section 1.3, but offers additional services in its own name.

1.3 If the travel agency only arranges services from other providers (e.g. travel arrangements) or individual services (e.g. flight tickets), the GTC of these providers apply. In this case, the travel agency is not a party to the contract, but can charge costs for advice and reservations and, if necessary, for changes and cancellations in accordance with the following provisions.

 

2. Conclusion of contract

2.1 The contract is concluded with the confirmation of the written, telephone, electronic (online) or personal booking by the customer. In any case, the contract is concluded when the customer uses the services offered by the travel agency and/or pays the bill. From this point in time, these GTC shall apply.

2.2 Special requests only become part of the contract if they have been expressly accepted and confirmed by the travel agency.

3. Prices, price increases and fees

3.1 Subject to other offers, all prices are in Swiss francs (CHF) and are per person in a double room. All prices are exclusive of any applicable Value Added Tax (VAT) and exclusive of any other applicable taxes. 

3.2The travel agency reserves the right to increase the contractually fixed prices listed in the brochure/on the website if the transport costs, including fuel costs, subsequently increase due to the following events:

  • government taxes and fees, such as landing fees, airport taxes, embarkation and disembarkation fees, etc. Taxes are increased or newly introduced;

  • the exchange rates applicable to the relevant trip change;

  • general changes of travel elements (change of route, accommodation, means of transport, etc.) are made.

3.3 The travel agency is entitled to make such justified price increases no later than three weeks before the departure date and will notify the customer of this. For trips during and around Christmas/New Year's between December 21st and January 5th, separate conditions and prices apply, to which the customer will be informed by the travel agency on request.

3.4 The travel agency can charge a fee for advice and reservations, even if the travel agency only acts as a broker – for example for international flight bookings. These will be communicated at the latest when booking.

3.5 The travel agency may also charge an express surcharge for short-notice bookings.

4. Payment

4.1 If the booking is made less than 6 months before the start of the trip, a deposit of 60% of the booking price must be paid by the customer within 10 days after the booking contract has been concluded. For bookings made more than 6 months in advance, a deposit of 40% applies at the time of booking and a further 20% 6 months before the travel date. The remaining amount is to be paid by the customer within 30 days of receipt of the invoice, but no later than 40 days before departure. 

4.2 If the advance payments or the final payment are not made on time, the travel agency can withdraw from the contract and claim the costs in accordance with Sections 3.4., 3.5 and cancellation costs in accordance with Section 9.2. Otherwise the customer is automatically in default and owes the travel agency default interest of 5% (five percent). It is not permitted to set off the invoiced amount against any claims the customer may have against the travel agency.

4.3 The travel agency offers the customer the following payment options: prepayment, deposit. 

5. Change of contract by the travel agency

5.1 General changes to the travel program

5.1.1 The travel agency reserves the right to change the travel program, the services and prices of the booking. Should this be the case, customers will be informed in good time. If such a program change leads to a significant change in the booked trip, the customer can either accept the contract change or withdraw from the contract.

5.1.2 Insignificant changes to the program for which an equivalent replacement can be offered (e.g. choosing different accommodation or a different means of transport) do not entitle you to withdraw from the contract.

5.1.3 The withdrawal from the contract must be made in writing by registered letter to the travel agency within five days of receipt of the notification regarding the contract change, otherwise the contract change is deemed to have been approved.

5.1.4 If the customer withdraws from the contract within the period of five days, he is entitled to a refund of the payments already made, with the exception of payments to third parties already made and non-refundable, such as booked flight tickets.

5.2 Last minute changes to the travel program before or during the trip

5.2.1 The travel agency reserves the right to make changes to the programme shortly before or during the trip. The travel agency makes every effort to avoid delays, but cannot rule out travel delays (e.g. flights) of 1 to 2 days, which are not their responsibility. Additional costs resulting from such changes in flight and travel times are borne by the customer and/or his insurance company.

5.2.2 The travel agency also reserves the right to change programs or individual agreed services (e.g. accommodation, type of transport, means of transport, airlines, activities) in the interest of the customer if unforeseen circumstances make it necessary.

5.2.3 In particular, the travel agency is not liable for changes in the travel program that are due to force majeure, official measures, strikes, weather conditions or delays by third parties for which the travel agency is not responsible. However, the travel agency endeavors to provide equivalent replacement services.

 

5.3 Cancellation of the tour by the travel agency

5.3.1 If the tour has to be canceled for a reason for which the travel agency is responsible, the customer is entitled to a refund of the booking price already paid. A claim for damages (and also for consequential costs arising from this) is excluded. Since the booking of international flights is not included in the travel agency's offer, with the exception of the cases defined under Section 11.2, a refund for such already booked flight tickets must be clarified directly with the respective airline. The travel agency assumes no liability for this and cannot provide any compensation.

5.3.2 If the minimum number of participants specified in the travel brochure/on the website is not reached, the travel agency can cancel the trip up to three weeks before the departure date at the latest. In this case, the customer is entitled to a refund of the booking price already paid. A claim for damages is excluded. 

5.3.3 If, as a result of force majeure (e.g. natural disasters, epidemics, unrest, official regulations, strikes, etc.), the travel agency can cancel the tour at any time. In this case, the customer is entitled to a refund of the travel price already paid. A claim for damages is also excluded here.
 

6. Interruption, early termination of the tour and services not used by the customer

If the customer has started the tour and breaks it off prematurely, he is not entitled to a refund of the booking costs. The local representative of the travel agency or the booking office in Switzerland will help as far as possible with the organization of the early return journey. The resulting costs shall in any case be borne by the customer. This also applies to services that the customer does not use during the tour. If the travel agency receives a refund from the partners for such services, it will pass this on to the customer.
 

7. Entry requirements, visa and health regulations

7.1. The customer is responsible for complying with the respective passport, visa and health regulations (vaccinations, etc.) as well as for compliance with entry regulations (customs, foreign exchange, import regulations, etc.). The travel agency will inform you in advance about entry and visa requirements. However, the customer must obtain the necessary visa himself.

7.2 For the current risk situation in the destination country, the travel agency refers to the travel advice of the FDFA (www.eda.admin.ch) and to the health recommendations of Healthyravel (www.healthytravel.ch). By starting the journey, the customer confirms that he is familiar with these warnings and agrees to start the journey at his own risk.

7.3 In the event of pregnancy, the customer is obliged to inquire about the transport conditions (airline, etc.) before booking and to inform the travel agency about this. If transport is refused due to pregnancy, the travel agency declines all liability.

7.4 Taking along and transporting animals is not permitted.

7.5. All disadvantages and costs resulting from non-compliance with the above regulations are fully borne by the customer.

8. Insurance

The conclusion of suitable insurance is the sole responsibility of the customer. Taking out cancellation and/or return travel insurance is expressly recommended and should cover the following risks: rescue, recovery, search and repatriation costs as well as the costs of cancellation for compelling reasons. In addition, no luggage, theft, accident or health insurance is included in the tours. The travel agency expressly recommends that the customer also take out appropriate insurance against such risks.

9. Cancellation/cancellation of the tour by the customer

9.1 The cancellation of a booked tour must be made in writing by registered letter to the travel agency. The travel documents already received must be returned.

9.2 A processing fee of CHF 100.00 per person will be charged for the cancellation. In addition to the processing fees, the following cancellation costs will be charged:

If the cancellation occurs within the following period:

121 – 60 days before departure:                        35% of the tour price

59 – 30 days before departure:                         50% of the tour price

from 29 days before departure:                     100% of the tour price

9.3 If the customer does not show up at the agreed starting point of the tour or does not show up in time, or if he does not have the necessary travel documents (including vaccination certificates, visas, etc.), the entire booking price is owed in any case.

9.4 Personalized services that have been pre-financed by the travel agency and cannot be transferred (e.g. flights) will be billed in full to the customer in the event of cancellation of the booking, regardless of any cancellation period. They are usually 100% of the price.

 

10. Warranty

The travel agency guarantees to carry out the agreed services in the quality customary in the industry.

11. International flight bookings

11.1 Unless expressly stated otherwise, the booking of international flights and the payment of the corresponding flight tickets are the sole responsibility of the customer and are not included in the offer. The travel agency accepts no liability or reimbursement for this. The contractual provisions of the flight provider apply. The punctual arrival at the place of departure as well as at the starting point of the tour offered by the travel agency is the sole responsibility of the customer. When booking a flight, customers must allow enough time for domestic connections. Delays are not uncommon and travel agents cannot guarantee connections to bookings made by customers.

11.2 In certain circumstances, the travel agency may offer a separate offer for international flight bookings as part of its services. In these cases, the provisions of the airline according to Section 12 apply.

 

12. Brokerage

If the travel agency arranges individual third-party services (e.g. flights etc.) on behalf of a customer, the conclusion and content of such contracts with the customer are based exclusively on the relevant statutory provisions and any conditions of the third-party contractual partner. A liability of the travel agency for these external services is excluded as far as legally possible.

13. Customer complaints

13.1 The customer must report any complaints immediately in writing to the travel agency or the local representative. The travel agency or tour guide will endeavor to rectify the defect within a reasonable period of time.

13.2 If the customer wishes to assert claims for defects, refunds or damages against the travel agency after the end of the tour, he/she must notify the travel agency of his/her complaint in writing and by registered mail no later than one month after the contractual end of the tour.  

14. Liability

14.1 The travel agency ensures that the tour is properly organized and carried out in accordance with the contract. If international agreements and national laws provide for limitations on compensation for damage resulting from non-performance or improper performance of the contract, the travel agency is only liable within the framework of the relevant applicable agreements and laws.

14.2 Any liability of the travel agency is excluded if and to the extent that the non-performance or improper performance of the contract is due to the following events:

  • to defaults on the part of the customer;

  • to unforeseeable or unavoidable omissions by third parties who are not involved in the provision of the contractually agreed services and for which the travel agency is not responsible;

  • to force majeure or to an event which the travel agency could not foresee or avert despite all due care.
     

14.3 The travel agency is liable for personal injury resulting from the non-fulfilment or improper fulfillment of the contract within the framework of the present GTC and the relevant international agreements and national laws.

14.4 For other damage such as property damage and financial loss resulting from non-performance or improper performance of the contract, the liability of the travel agency is limited to a maximum of twice the amount of the booking price, except for damage caused intentionally or through gross negligence. In any case, any lower liability limits provided for in the relevant international agreements and national laws remain reserved.

14.5The customer is aware that the trips carried out by the travel agency can be associated with increased risks if and to the extent that they take place in potentially risky regions, in particular

  • where the particular dangers involve physical and psychological frontiers that are not always clear are recognizable or

  • where no or only a very limited traffic or medical infrastructure is available.
     

14.6 The travel agency undertakes to prepare the tour carefully, but cannot foresee all risks and eventualities. In view of these risks, participation is at the customer's own risk. In such cases, the liability of the travel agency is limited to intent and gross negligence.

15. Ombudsman

Before any legal dispute with the travel agency, the customer should contact the independent ombudsman of the travel industry. The latter endeavors to reach a fair and balanced agreement. The address is: Ombudsman for the Swiss travel industry, 8038 Zurich.

16. Data protection

16.1 Data security: The travel agency will take all reasonable measures to protect the data in accordance with the applicable legal regulations, in particular within the framework of the new Swiss Federal Act on Data Protection (nFADP) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union.

16.2 Consent to data processing: The customer expressly agrees that the travel agency may process and use the data collected as part of the conclusion of the contract to fulfill the obligations arising from the contract. This may include the transfer of certain personal data to the destination countries of the trip, the data protection of which may not meet Swiss or EU standards. The customer gives his express consent by signing the booking contract and the attached data protection clause.

16.3 Disclosure obligation: The customer is aware that the travel agency is obliged and authorized by order of courts or authorities to pass on information about the customer to them or third parties.

16.4 Marketing purposes: Unless the customer expressly objects, the travel agency may use the customer's data for marketing purposes.

More information about data protection is available from the Privacy policy.

17. Changes

These GTC can be changed by the travel agency at any time. The new version comes into force 30 (thirty) days after publication online by the travel agency. In principle, the version of the GTC that is in force at the time the contract is concluded applies to customers. Unless the customer has agreed to a newer version of the GTC.

18. Priority

These GTC take precedence over all older provisions and contracts. Only provisions from individual contracts, which specify the provisions of these GTC, take precedence over these GTC.

19. Severability Clause

Should a provision of this contract or an enclosure of this contract be or become invalid, this shall not affect the validity of the rest of the contract. The contracting parties will replace the ineffective provision with an effective provision that comes as close as possible to the intended economic purpose of the invalid provision. The same applies to any gaps in the contract.

20. Governing Law / Jurisdiction

These GTC are subject to Swiss law. Insofar as no mandatory legal provisions take precedence, the court at the seat of the travel agency is responsible. The travel agency is free to bring an action at the defendant's place of business.

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