Brent Thomas Brent Thomas

MIQ system changes won't help

Stated changes to New Zealand’s MIQ system will not resolve the current level of inequity and are not being received well by the travel agent community and other business interests, according to the Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (TAANZ).

‘We have had a number of agents expressing disappointment and frustration at both the old system and the new random system. We are engaging with Business New Zealand, who are also frustrated and coming up with joint submissions on how it could work better,’ says TAANZ president Brent Thomas.

‘They have changed the system but they are still not linking hotels with airlines or working the existing capacity well. Agents already have a wealth of information on how it could work.’

He says agents say a random system still means that an essential person or one with urgent need (ie a dying relative) will not have priority over anyone else. ‘We still have agents working in heart breaking situations and not able to get anything resolved.’

Thomas says a question that TAANZ is asking authorities (but not getting an answer) is what is utilisation rate of the MIQ facilities?

‘We understand there is under-utilisation. So we probably do not need more rooms we just need to use what we have more efficiently.’

Yesterday’s announcement of the country other than with the Auckland boundaries moving into Level 2 was welcomed by Thomas as it means at least some domestic travel and larger groups (up to 50 indoors rather than the previous 100 at Level 2; and 100 outdoors).

Meantime, Thomas says that with current vaccination rates it looks likely that 80% of eligible people will have had two jabs by the end of October. Give that is only weeks away it would be good to know what the low and medium risk countries will be and what the protocols will be at the border for these countries, that will give agents so me surety around booking people for travel at the start of 2022 which the government has promised. There is no reason why they should not be planning now and telling us what they are thinking.’

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