Jao Camp Villa, Botswana. The country is opening up. Jao Camp Villa, Botswana. The country is opening up.

WJ: Kiwis need to book for 2022

A leading wholesaler is warning trade that their main challenge next year, when New Zealand borders eventually open up, is likely to be finding availability for clients– especially for high end accommodation and niche activities.

World Journeys director Chris Lyons says there is now no question that Europeans and Americans are living with Covid as vaccination rates continue to rise and that they are on the move again.

He says luxury product like Belmont, and specialised soft adventure such as Quark’s Greenland programmes are either close to full or already sold out for 2022.

‘Every retail agent will have at least some clients who are itching to get away. But if they wait until our borders open up and they can travel with self isolation return, rather than an expensive stay in MIQ, before they even book they may be disappointed. I would urge agents to be encouraging their clients to book now for the products they want, not only for 2022 but also 2023.

‘There is so much more flexibility from accommodation and other suppliers now, with liberal amendment and cancellation conditions, that there is very little risk in booking now.’

Lyons says there is light at the end of the tunnel and that most of World Journeys’ key destinations have already opened up to tourists or will have by the end of November.

‘That applies to much of South America, a number of African countries like Kenya and Botswana, and places like Thailand in Asia. Also Alaska and Canada are opening and they are possibly destinations that Kiwis will feel the most comfortable travelling to first.’

He says the trade should also be pushing the value proposition when it comes to what travel agents can offer in a complicated travel world.

‘It’s not just about helping to book travel any more, but increasingly about making sure all the paperwork is right.’

That said, Lyons feels that more and more countries are moving to allow double vaccinated travellers in on the condition that they receive a PCR or rapid antigen test. If the test is negative, travellers can get on their way.

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