The New Zealand Government has reneged on a promise that it would reopen borders and reconnect to the world in the first quarter of 2022 on the condition that the country’s population was 90% fully vaccinated, says the chair of the Tourism Export Council of New Zealand (TECNZ).
Scott Mehrtens who is also managing director of Leisure Time Travel, says this week’s announcement around borders was really just a tinkering of the MIQ situation for returning New Zealanders.
Inbound tour operators have expressed a desire to collaborate more with outbound travel agents when it comes to issues around the borders.
The subject was raised during the Tourism Export Council (TEC) NZ conference in New Plymouth recently and chair Scott Mehrtens, of Leisure Time Travel, says it is clear the two sectors can work together and learn from each other.
Tourism Export Council (TEC) NZ has presented its hopes for a time line in terms of border openings.
In one of her last acts a TECNZ chair, Anna Black reiterated the organisation’s desire to have its New Zealand International Recovery Plan considered as the New Zealand Government prepares its own Tourism Transformation Plan.
Many of the travel agents who have embraced selling New Zealand tours and holidays throughout the Covid pandemic are saying they will never ignore the domestic market again, according to a leading tour operator.
Scott Mehrtens, managing director of Leisure Time Travel, says that while agents are tending to go back to the ‘default mode’ of selling offshore destinations as bubbles open they are still asking about new product and opportunities in their own country.
‘The proactive agents, the ones that got into it straight away, have been hugely successful. They won’t neglect New Zealand again – it’s a form of de-risk.’
Leisure Time Travel representatives will be ‘on the road’ over the next couple of weeks distributing and promoting the company’s largest domestic offering in its 35 year history.
‘We wanted to provide some serious collateral that agents can get their teeth into, so a huge amount of what’s in the brochure is new,’ says Scott Mehrtens, Leisure Time’s managing director.
Tweaking the brand to reflect a more diverse offering and enhancing its agency portal for local trade servicing the domestic market, are two recent initiatives of Leisure Time Travel.
Managing director, Scott Mehrtens says the company’s name, Leisure Time Tours has strong recognition but there was a need to emphasise the wider range of travel offerings.
Supporting the local travel agent community and encouraging customers to do the same is a key strategy of long standing tour operator Leisure Time Tours, says managing director Scott Mehrtens.
‘Having operated for 33 years we have a deep understanding of how the distribution channels work, we are fully commissionable and we are able to immediately offer a wide range of domestic product to our travel agency partners,’ he says.