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International Orchestra Tours: Your Questions Answered

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The human spirit is rising to the occasion and is figuring out how to LEARN through this pandemic and safely return to normalcy over time. We can assist in preparing for the inevitable rebound of your touring schedules every step of the way and strongly believe continuing to tour internationally is critical to your profitability, despite the challenges.

Curt Wilson, President and CEO of boomerang carnets®, Monika Jadeszko, our Vice President of Global Carnet Operations and Alan Scillitoe, Director of the Sports and Entertainment division of Agility Logistics answered questions, during an LOAO webinar, about the return to international touring.

Are there any checklists or timelines that you might share on how to build a budget for international touring and things to keep in mind when preparing for a tour?

CW: On the carnet side, we have a checklist and we can coordinate with Alan at Agility and propose different options that might be helpful for an orchestra that is touring at the time. Monika's team has a checklist they follow and provide to orchestras. The carnet's General List for orchestra equipment can be very lengthy and contain a lot of description so Monika's team is available to consult with and guide you through the process. Alan, do you have anything to add to that?

AS: We collaborate sometimes as far two years out working out options and budgeting concerns helping to craft and structure a tour almost from the beginning, informed by the marketplace that's out there, and whatever we need to work around. It's quite a long process but it's very collaborative.

Are there any tours actively planning now or are you just seeing a total disappearance of touring? Are there any orchestras preparing to tour in 2021-22 and beyond?

AS: I have not seen any cancellations yet into 2021. It has been a rolling dynamic as the year has gone on. Orchestras who have plans so far are watching the situation. If conditions have still precluded being able to tour, then, of course, they have to stand down. We are seeing orchestras, even very late in this year, who are still considering and keeping their space with what they have planned for the year. It's been a very dynamic situation, very much informed by what is going on day-to-day. We still have active things for late in this year.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the costs of a carnet? Is it based on a sliding scale depending on the size of the orchestra traveling, or how does that work?

CW: There are two fees associated with the ATA Carnet. One is the basic processing fee that is based on the value of the shipment. Usually, larger orchestras, and even some of the medium-size orchestras that tour, are eligible for the discount we offer to League of American Orchestra members. In many instances we can offer the discount to non-member orchestras, as well. The second fee is the Carnet bond which acts as the security for the payment of import-duty and -tax, owed to the foreign customs service, should the goods and equipment not return to the country of origin. The carnet bond amount is 40% of the value of the goods and equipment. Of the two, the bond fee is the more costly. Over the last two or three decades, we have given League member orchestras significant discounts on their bonds. It will vary case by case. Orchestra League members, no matter what Level they are in, are always eligible for discounts.

Can an orchestra tour with multiple carnets?

MJ: Yes, of course, an orchestra can tour with multiple carnets. Although you must remember to make sure you present all the carnets to US and foreign customs at the point of entry and exit. But yes, multiple carnets are fine. Sometimes, you can use one carnet and do a split shipment or a partial shipment, that is a possibility as well. We will walk you through that process to make sure that you notify customs to identify which goods are traveling on a carnet at that time.

CW: Can I add something to that? For US orchestras on US carnets, we have always taken the position to issue the carnets with enough travel certificates as though the EU is not a single-customs-territory. We always add different certificate sets in the carnet document just in case, for the unknowns and the unplanned for. That is important to do. The practice comes from years of experience touring under carnets.

If you are interested in a consultation on how to approach a tour for your orchestra, please contact Monika Jadeszko who will be happy to offer expert advice on how to begin planning. Together is better.