The board of the Travel Agents Association of New Zealand says that due to the significant financial impact Covid-19 has had on the travel industry and the flow on to TAANZ it has made the difficult decision to restructure the association.
The outcome is that the role of the chief executive officer is no longer affordable and Andrew Olsen will be leaving in September. The board has highlighted Olsen's many years of service to the association and notes he has championed the TAANZ accreditation model and the elevation of staff qualifications and standards, brought to light the successful National Travel Industry Awards, implemented the ATA brand, been at the forefront of negotiations with IATA and more.
Flight Centre Travel Group NZ currently has a greater emphasis on the short to medium term than the longer term vision – something that is unusual for the group, says managing director David Colombes.
The group has just released a case study entitled Our Business Journey Through Covid-19. In his summary, Coombes says ‘it is important to accept what we can’t influence and control, and focus on what we can, which is more restricted than ever before.
Princess Cruises has been largely exonerated in the report of the Australian Special Commission of Inquiry into the Ruby Princess cruise ship coronavirus outbreak. he report was released last Friday 14 and the Commissioner heavily criticised Australian health officials.
Kevin O’Sullivan, chief executive of the New Zealand Cruise Association, says the organisation is pleased with the outcome. ‘It has been a very stressful time for Carnival and Princess because of mismanagement by Australian health agencies.’
The inquiry found ‘serious errors’ by New South Wales Health in its handling of suspected cases on board.
‘The Commission’s report confirms that none of our people — the Captain, the ship’s doctor, or members of our shore side port agency team — misled public authorities involved in Ruby Princess being permitted to disembark guests on March 19,’ says Jan Swartz, group president, Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia.
‘This finding is of great importance to us because it goes to the integrity of our people. In our more than 20 years in Australia, we have always sought to cooperate honestly and professionally with officials in accordance with the regulatory environment.
‘We acknowledge the Commission’s specific comments about Carnival Australia, and we will consider these comments to the fullest possible extent,’ Swartz adds.
Princess Cruises also welcomes the Commission’s attention to improving information sharing and coordination among government agencies in the future. In our submission to the inquiry, we agreed that this area deserved consideration. We look forward to collaborating with government agencies and industry peers to improve these systems.
The New Zealand Aviation Coalition (NZAC) is welcoming Singapore’s decision to open its border to Kiwis from September 1.
Singapore announced on August 21 that it will not require anyone who has been in New Zealand for 14 days before their flight to go into self-isolation on arrival.
Instead, travellers will undergo a Covid-19 test at the airport, and only be allowed to go about their activities in Singapore after receiving a negative test result.
Justin Tighe-Umbers, executive director of the Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand (BARNZ), says the move by Singapore is indicative of what is starting to happen around the world.
‘The world is working out how to live with COVID-19,’ he says. ‘New Zealand will lose international connectivity with airlines pulling out unless it keeps abreast of what its competitors are doing and considers the implications. Once airlines pull out it will be extremely hard to compete to get them back and that will have major impacts for the price of tickets for travellers and for exporters relying on air freight.’
Meantime, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has welcomed Singapore’s announcement on the easing of border measures for entry into the country. It is urging other states in the region to look at ways to resume international travel safely, including through the implementation of travel bubbles.
‘COVID-19 has dealt a massive blow to the airline industry and the road to recovery is going to be long and slow,’ says Conrad Clifford, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Asia-Pacific. ‘Our latest forecast indicates that travel demand will not return to 2019 levels until 2024, a year later than previously expected. Key to the recovery is the opening of borders and the lifting of travel restrictions and measures such as quarantine.’ He says Singapore’s announcement is positive and a step in the right direction. ‘We hope to work closely with the government so that Singapore’s aviation industry can restart safely while mitigating the possibility of COVID-19 transmission. And we urge other states in the region to look at ways to resume international travel safely.’
Despite a significant percentage of the population fearing that they have a high chance of catching Covid-19 if they fly, and media coverage that often seems to promote this fear, actual evidence and recorded instances appear to indicate the opposite.
The Covid crisis could have a ‘very long shadow’ when it comes to flying and travel in general, according to global research by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). ‘Passengers are telling us that it will take time before they return to their old travel habits,’ says Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.
Qantas has released a three-year strategy to guide recovery and return to growth in the changed market.
The airline says around 100 aircraft will be grounded for up to 12 months, some for longer. There will also be job losses and extended stand downs to manage a long period of reduced flying, especially internationally.
An accountant who specialises in the travel and tourism sector says the vast majority of his 70 plus travel agency clients will come through the other side of Covid-19 – bruised but not beaten.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has introduced a free online interactive world map to provide travellers with the latest Covid-19 entry regulations by country.
World Animal Protection (WAP) has called on the United Nations World Tourism Organisation to ensure the travel industry takes a lead role in stopping commercial exploitation of wild animals.
Ben Pearson, head of campaigns for WAP, says the tourism industry is one of the most vulnerable to disease pandemics and must be at the forefront of preventing future ones happening. ‘Central to that is stopping the exploitation of wild animals.