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.
The Travel Agents’ Association of New Zealand (TAANZ), with contributions and endorsements from Flight Centre, Helloworld, House of Travel and First Travel Group, has presented a submission to government on travel supplier credits – remedies and protections for travel agents and consumers.
TAANZ chief executive Andrew Olsen says the submission laid out the inherent risk in credits, supplier failure and consumers seeking refunds, and the travel agent bearing the brunt of chargebacks and collapse.
The Travel Agents’ Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) has passed on comments and guidelines from the Commerce Commission, saying they are a reminder to make sure agents are clear and consistent on any fees policy.
The commission says it has received ‘more than 100’ complaints about travel subscription and events cancellations and refunds related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A new study says corporate travel will bounce back as a key part of economic recovery, but warns that ‘a portion of business travel will never return.’
The Flight Plan 2020: Eight ways travel will be different a few months from now, says adaptation to new technology could change how we approach corporate meetings in the future. It says most regular travellers will be keen to get back into the real world, replacing the virtual meetings and webinars that have dominated over the past two or three months.
Travel agents looking to survive through tough times with no fixed date of remedy are increasingly looking at putting their business into ‘hibernation’ and the various ways they can fund this.
Paul Davies, of Oneteam Chartered Accounts / TA Accounting, says agents are faced with making the tough decision between shutting down the business or keeping it in survival mode.
The Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) is hoping to present a firm recommendation on its stance around airline refunds and credits to appropriate government ministers early next week.
Some New Zealand agents are optimistic that they will be able to benefit from selling domestic travel once restrictions around Covid-19 ease, and before anywhere else in the world opens up to Kiwi travellers.