Keith Sumner Keith Sumner

TMC: Confident strong recovery to start in first quarter next year

A leading Auckland based corporate travel agent says that despite challenging times now he expects the sector to be at least on its way to a strong recovery in Q1 next year.

Keith Sumner, managing director of Gilpin Travel, says the company’s team will be back to full employment in February next year.

‘We’ve budgeted for that and we are committed to it. We’re taking the punt on the basis that even if things are not fully open there will be orders coming in anticipation of travel and that will keep us busy.’

Sumner says the main thing the market needs is confidence that when someone leaves the country they will be able to come back again.

‘I don’t think it has been emphasised enough that when our customers leave they are doing it for their own company but also for New Zealand Inc and for trade.’

Sumner says that when travel started coming back earlier this year it ‘bounced back quickly’ and he doesn’t imagine that will be different.

‘Obviously we will need an increase in airline capacity. You can’t blame the airlines, they also need confidence and
they will add services as business picks up.’

Sumner says Gilpin Travel is lucky to have some Australian-based clients. ‘That’s an important asset because we are getting forward orders (from them) now.’

He says he has been impressed by initiatives such as the Qantas travel app and applauds the Australian Government’s efforts in getting a fit for purpose vaccine certificate up and running.

‘In New Zealand we still don’t have a
date for that. Australia has beaten us
hands down there.’

Sumner expects domestic business travel to quickly pick up when people are able to travel freely in and out of Auckland again.

‘There may be some places you can’t get to but the vast majority of our travellers are moving Auckland-Wellington and Auckland-Christchurch.’

He feels we have probably seen the end of the stop-start-stop travel freedoms.

‘I think whatever advances are made from here will be in a one-way direction. Our vaccination rates are high enough now that we shouldn’t need to go backwards.’

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