People in the Asia Pacific region are less likely to feel confident about international travel right now than those in Europe and USA.
Gavin Harris, commercial director of strategic partnerships with Skyscanner, says the company’s latest weekly travel pulse data shows that globally, 19% of people say they would feel safe travelling internationally now.
The Tourism Export Council of New Zealand (TECNZ) says it is pleased that the Government has listened to the industry and will offer loans to 26 Inbound Tour Operators (ITOs) from the Strategic Tourism Assets Protection programme.
TECNZ chief executive Lynda Keene says the increase from the initial number of 10 ITOs, on better conditions than originally discussed, will allow those businesses to remain operational.
Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) released its year-end results on 27August for its 2020 Fiscal Year, which show an optimistic future for its corporate brands FCM Travel Solutions and Corporate Traveller despite a major downturn in the travel industry.
Whilst FCTG experienced severe losses (A$510M underlying loss before tax) due to unprecedented travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, FCM Travel Solutions and Corporate Traveller proved to be resilient. During the global shutdown, the two business travel divisions landed a
Expedia remains confident that its Travel Agent Affiliation Progamme (Expedia TAAP) will make a strong comeback as consumers return to both leisure and corporate travel.
St Udy, Expedia’s director travel agent distribution, says consumers more than ever will want advice and confidence in where they are travelling and who they are travelling with in terms of suppliers.
Travel brand heads' discussion with Minister Kris Faafoi and Kelvin Davis on Monday to discuss the industry's hopes for much needed funding were positive. However the collective, who formed the Proposal for Support of the Travel Agency Sector, say there is still work to do to come to a result that works for all parties.
The group is made up of the David Coombes, managing director, Flight Centre; Mark O'Donnell, chief executive officer, House of Travel; Malcolm MacLeod, chief executive officer, First Travel Group, and Simon McKearney, executive general manager Helloworld.
'The next step is to more accurately quantify the scale of outstanding customer funds and the costs incurring in retrieving them. We'll be working closely with MBIE to form an aligned proposal that will then go to the Ministry of Finance by the end of the week,' the collective says in a statement.
The group understands this is in preparation to be presented at the next cabinet meeting on 7 September. The Ministers were clear that they understand the agency sector's need for clarity.
A meeting was scheduled today with MBIE to discuss the plan of action and keep the momentum going.
The organisation that represents New Zealand’s inbound tour operators says it is ‘underwhelmed’ that Government is only looking to extend the wage subsidy for a further two weeks.
Chief executive of the Tourism Export Council of New Zealand (TECNZ) Lynda Keene says although the council is pleased there is an extension, an additional two weeks is not going to help businesses trying to plan for the next four months through to Christmas. ‘We were hoping the wage subsidy would be extended to at least 17 October, the new election date.
‘Given the opportunity to provide support for ITO (inbound tour operator) businesses that have had zero revenue since lockdown in March 2020 and tourism operators who are desperately trying to regain losses over the past six months with domestic visitors, the two-week extension seems a little short-sighted and has not provided any certainty for businesses who may face continuous disruptions,’ Keene says.
‘Our members are also struggling with the delay in Government processes to advise STAPP (Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme) recipients about loan terms and conditions – particularly with ITOs still not knowing if they are eligible for STAPP ITO loans (or grants) since the original announcement was made on 1 August 2020.
‘Not having any detail for almost three weeks is creating immense anxiety for businesses that are trying to make decisions on the future of their operations. We urge MBIE to contact TECNZ or its members with information that can assist them with their decision-making as soon as possible.’
Developments like allowing domestic cruising and travel to some Pacific destinations would provide a much needed ‘intravenous’ line for those travel companies hanging in through the current crisis, say the directors of Fuzion Travel.
Andrew Parke and Stuart McKay say that despite everything they retain optimism for the future and say their broker model is continuing to hold up well.
The collective behind the Proposal For Support of the Travel Agency Sector will meet with Grant Robertson, Kris Faafoi and Kelvin Davis on 24 August.
This invitation follows the process that has been in play around the original proposal submitted in early June, and controversial comments made by Davis this week in parliament.
Travel Agents Association of NZ (TAANZ) yesterday advised Treasury it firmly supported the Brand-led submission that had been with MBIE for nearly two months.
Many in the travel trade see this week as possibly the biggest ‘crunch time’ in a crisis that most hoped would be well and truly showing improvement by now.
With an important discussion between Brand leaders and Treasury yesterday, the petition by broker Shane Lust being presented to Parliament today, and (not withstanding that) the wage subsidy running out
Travel agents are still wondering what needs to be done to get government acknowledgment that the industry needs to be supported. A list of tourism attractions were today announced as recipients of relief from the government's tourism fund. 'We were advised to look at this fund as an option,' says Andrew Olsen, TAANZ CEO. 'Unfortunately travel agents are not visitor attractions so that application process was not designed to include us.
The managing director of a leading travel management company (TMC) says that making tough, even distressing, decisions early in the Covid crisis has put the business in a position to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
Keith Sumner, of Gilpin Travel, says that despite the company being an entirely different and reduced entity to what it was a few months ago there are some signs of recovery.
Creating a clear line of communication and a forum for supporting each other are two of the motivations behind the forming of a new Travel Suppliers Group.
The group’s chair, Robyn Galloway, says the decision to get together in no way detracts from efforts already being made and in fact will help suppliers work in a coordinated way with the recently formed Industry Working Group and others.
The Tourism Export Council of New Zealand (TECNZ) says it has ‘a mixed response’ to hearing that Government will not consider an extension of the wage subsidy beyond September.
New Zealand Document Exchange Limited has sent out a statement saying it has made the 'difficult decision to close the Travcour division on 17 July.
'Our records show that some of our members have been with us since our inception. Now that is loyalty - thank you,' the company says. 'The team at Travcour has been around a long time too (some up to 30 years) during which time we have forged some great relationships and made many personal friends.'
Travcour has been providing visa advisory and visa processing to the travel industry since 1985. During this time the landscape has changed considerable, none more so than due to the impact of Covid-19.
The travel agency community has reasons to be optimistic about the future despite the current grim situation, according to an industry stalwart.
John Willson, general manager retail with First Travel Group says certain factors remain critical at the moment. These include an extension of the wage subsidy, a favourable response by government to the travel brand submission, and a gradual, steady opening of borders.
As travel business owners look to the future, a network set up to meet the needs of independent agents feels it has the right model for a post Covid comeback.
Rob Beecher, of Global Travel Network (GTN), says although the company is obviously hurting like everyone in the industry, the signs are that the ‘small, lean and nimble’ model has held up comparatively well in tough times.
A ‘State of the Market’ survey by Flight Centre Corporate indicates that New Zealand business travellers will be among the leaders in the sector’s recovery.
In fact, 61% of New Zealand respondents have travelled domestically already or expect to do so in the next one to three months.
A total of 1600 customers of global travel management companies (TMCs) FCM Travel Solutions and Corporate Traveller around the world took part in the survey. They ranged from smaller businesses
An increasing number of travel and tourism personnel who find themselves out of work are ‘hunkering down’ and offering contract and part time services to get through the crisis, says the managing partner of a company that specialises in employment in the sector.
Avis Budget Group has introduced technology designed to improve transparency with customers.
PhotoProofed, lets customers renting in New Zealand with Avis and Budget confirm the vehicle’s condition in real-time.
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.
Tourism Export Council (TEC) NZ has released an international tourism recovery roadmap that predicts trans Tasman travel opening up in October 2020 and a number of Asia Pacific source markets / destinations following a month later.
When destinations consider how to manage the flow of visitors and combat over-tourism in the future they can learn lessons from theme parks, a speaker in the international tourism recovery webinar series said last week.
While the move to Alert Level 1 will further stimulate domestic travel – something which has at least given a flicker of life to some agents and brokers – the industry continues to call for urgent attention to paid to trans Tasman travel and other safe border openings.
A platform to empower women travellers and to support women in the travel and tourism industry to promote specialist product and services was launched this week.
Girlz with Baggage is connecting with travel agents interested in receiving referrals, those who have their own tours that they would like support in promoting, and suppliers and enterprises that have product they believe would suit the Girlz with Baggage brand.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) does not envisage virtual meetings and other technologies replacing business travel, but does accept that recessionary forces are likely to put ongoing pressure on the sector.
Gloria Guevara, chief executive officer and president at WTTC, says technology is an enabler and helps people do business in times when people’s movements are restricted.
Trafalgar’s official launch back into the domestic market next week will be a positive step to give both the trade and consumers confidence in the future of travel, says Scott Cleaver, managing director of The Travel Corporation NZ.
Details of the domestic programme are yet to be released, but Cleaver says the range of itineraries will encompass both the North and South Islands and will introduce Kiwis to locals doing sustainable things.
An ‘all stars’ Industry Covid-19 Support Event is being held on 1 July, featuring a lineup of more than 25 leaders from around the globe joining in to inspire, educate, lift the industry and focus on a new path forward with renewed hope.
Staggering the New Zealand school holidays by region would reduce a ‘quick glut’ of business followed quickly by a soft period for domestic tourism, says Travel Agents’ Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) president Brent Thomas.
Embracing the gig (or in demand) economy will be one of the key ways for both employees and businesses to make a fresh start as economies emerge from the effects of Covid19, according to a presenter in the international Tourism Expert recovery webinar series.
Karen Priest, of Tourism Talent, says that while the gig economy is nothing new it is likely to be become even more prevalent as full time positions become scarce and businesses look to set strategic goals while remaining agile and flexible.
Exotic Holidays is reporting a number of ‘rays of hope’ that indicate travel is inching back towards resumption.
Referring to updates from its destination marketing companies (DMCs) and media reports, Exotic says that domestic travel, including flights, is resuming or close to resuming in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.
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.
Airlines’ recovery strategies have to align demand and booking activity with capacity, says John Grant, UK based director of Midas Aviation.
Grant says that the industry appears to have ‘reached the bottom’ but adding back capacity is going to be challenging for all airlines.
The aviation and general travel industry has to rebuild traveller confidence and put an end to stories that have little basis but get plenty of air time, according to UK based John Grant of Midas Aviation.
‘There is so much hysteria about the middle seat and we need to squash this. The seat is 17 inches (43cms) wide in most cases and whether it is empty or not fully defeats the whole argument for social distancing.
Had aviation started to grow too quickly to be sustainable and was it an industry pre-Covid that needed a reset?
These were questions asked by UK-based director of Midas Aviation, John Grant, a presenter in the International Tourism Expert Recovery webinar series this week.
Having a certain percentage of the aircraft unoccupied may serve to reassure passengers in the early emergence from Covid restrictions, but it is not a sustainable business model, according to Bill Franke, managing director of Indigo Partners.
Speaking on a CAPA Centre for Aviation webinar this week, Franke says there has been a lot of talk and photos in the media and on social sites showing where all the seats are taken and people are complaining about the lack of social distancing.
The Travel Corporation (TTC) and its numerous brands (Trafalgar, Luxury Gold, Insight Vacations, Contiki and Costsaver) have announced newly enhanced Covid-19 related protocols and hygiene standards for all of its guided vacations once domestic and international travel resumes. TTC’s executive and operations team members have spearheaded a complete review of the sanitation and hygiene measures around end-to-end guest experiences and interactions.
When travellers look ahead to their next holiday, they may also look back in time, the latest edition of the international Tourism Expert Recovery webinar series has heard.
In times of crisis, be decent. That is the advice of UK-based communications and public relations practitioner David Tarsh, who presented in the sixth edition of the International Tourism Expert Recovery webinar series late last week.
He says companies are judged on how they treat their staff as well as their customers. ‘If they treat anybody badly that’s a story (in the media).’
Fiji is in the early stages of discussions with New Zealand and Australia to become part of a trans Tasman travel bubble and needs to use the current time to prepare to welcome visitors back to a safe and attractive destination, according to Fayaz Siddiq Koya, the country’s Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport.
In a webinar to local industry last week, Koya said the possibility of inclusion in the ‘bubble’ has caused excitement in the destination. ‘But I should warn you we are at the very early stages. There are still many things
New Zealand tourism operators have been advised to hold their prices when the hoped for domestic tourism ‘surge’ begins during Alert Level 1.
Speaking at a Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) webinar, Tak Mutu from Rotorua luxury tour operator, MDA Experiences said there is ‘lots of sound’ about New Zealand activities being too expensive.
Air New Zealand is encouraged by the momentum that a 'trans Tasman bubble' has generated in recent weeks and feels this might become a reality in the next three to six months, according to the airline's chief revenue officer Cam Wallace. 'Even if it is incremental, state by state, we'd take that.'
In a trade webinar which has just concluded, Wallace said the opening up of the Pacific Islands is likely to take longer, because of the medical infrastructure in those destinations.
While health, safety and security will move up the priority list when customers choose their next travel experience post Covid, there is likely to also be a segment looking to take a ‘dream trip’ without too much delay, an international tourism expert recovery series has heard.
Will many low cost carriers (LCCs) survive, will there still be flights to points in Europe that cost the same as a flat white? Do we even want that situation again post Covid?
Those were questions posed by Chris Flynn, president and CEO of the World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage (WTACH) at the second webinar in the Keeping the Dream Alive – Tourism Expert Recovery series.
While the urge to travel will be strong as Covid restrictions come off around the world, financial constraints and other hurdles are likely to ensure recovery is slow and steady, according to presenters in the ongoing Keeping the Dream Alive - Tourism Expert Recovery webinar series.
Dr David Beirman, senior lecturer tourism, UTS (University of Technology Sydney), says people will definitely feel ‘confined and cloistered’ and this will result in them wanting a release.
The decision to allow Kiwis to start travelling around the country by air under Alert Level 2 will help kick-start regional economies says the New Zealand Aviation Coalition (NZAC).
Justin Tighe-Umbers, chair of NZAC, says the move will help save and regrow jobs and businesses.
There appears to be a lack of understanding in some tourism and travel industry sectors on the collective right to charge administration/cancellation fees during a force majeure, according to Robyn Galloway, MD of Innovative Travel.
The Covid crisis and lessons learned from it open up new opportunities to look at the way the trade and distribution channel works for ground operators, says James Dixon, Cairns based managing director of Down Under Tours.
Travellers are likely to avoid ‘crowded, crazy’ cities, at least in the early stages of a return to travel post Covid-19, according to Chris Flynn, president and CEO of the World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage (WTACH).
Early early birds could be one way to revive cash flow within the travel industry, says Dr David Beirman, a member of PATA's Tourism Rapid Response Taskforce.
‘Maintaining and developing cash flow is a key to survival. The market is familiar with early bird offers so maybe extra early bird offers may work at this stage.’ That said, Beirman, senior lecturer – tourism at University of Technology Sydney, feels in the long term travel sectors will have to take a new look at its profit margins post Covid.
Finding new services to offer and products to sell, focusing on cashflow, and being ready to take opportunities as they arise were highlighted as key tactics to survive the current crisis during an international travel and tourism webinar this week.