Travel Agents’ Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) president Brent Thomas says the changes announced to MIQ yesterday now mean that instead of 90% of people who apply for a spot in the system being disappointed, now 80% will be.
‘It defies logic that fully vaccinated people who test negative before they come here still have to spend seven days in MIQ before being able to self isolate,’ says Thomas.
‘It is still a lolly scramble without enough lollies – business travellers still won’t be able to travel and people still won’t have the ability to reconnect with their loved ones.
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.
The travel and tourism industries say the galvanising of the general public to take the jab is a silver lining in the grim reality of a Level 4 lockdown.
Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) president , Brent Thomas, says it is important to give credit where it’s due and acknowledge that the vaccination rate has picked up markedly.
‘From a travel industry point of view that means we will likely to be on target for the government to start opening the borders early next year as promised,’ says Thomas.
The Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) says that while accessing the balance of the Consumer Travel Reimbursement Scheme (CTRS) remains a focus, there are other pressing issues that have a longer-term impact on the health of the industry.
In a communication to members late last week, the TAANZ board pinpoints the challenges of the MIQ allocation system.
Along with this is a lack of any kind of government roadmap out of compulsory quarantine and border closures as the percentage of population being vaccinated increases.
‘As the surge in Covid cases in Australia has led to multiple states enduring yet more lockdowns, the decision to suspend the trans Tasman travel bubble has resulted in New Zealand travel agents calling on the government to unveil a clear plan for reopening the borders.
‘The current suspension represents yet another blow to the travel industry on both sides of the Tasman, which had begun to harbour cautiously optimistic hopes for a gradual recovery after the challenges of the last 18 months,’ reports Travel Agents Association (TAANZ) president, Brent Thomas.
Travel agents and suppliers continue to call on the Government to allow them to access to what remains of a fund that has helped them recover hundreds of millions for Kiwis who have had travel cancelled due to Covid.
As part of the effort, the Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) members have been sent a draft letter which they can amend to make relevant from their perspective and send to their local MP.
‘We are looking for support to have two small tweaks to the scheme approved –amend the start date back to 5 June and adjust the credit payment from 5% to 7.5% given the complexity and ongoing nature of credits),’ says Brent Thomas, TAANZ president.
Getting clarity around the roll-out of vaccinations and what that will mean for future travel is the number one issue in terms of getting the industry here back on its feet, says Travel Agents’Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) president Brent Thomas.
‘What we have seen overseas is that borders open as vaccination numbers increase. There is more willingness to open up to vaccinated people and we see that as a guide to how New Zealand will come out of this.
Travel agents are seeing growing interest in travel to Queensland as winter starts to set in, says Travel Agents Association president Brent Thomas.
He says that travel to Australia in general is ‘building nicely’, despite setbacks like the current lockdown in Victoria.
‘We are worried about the situation in Victoria at the moment, but at this time of the year travel there is generally around business, VFR and special events.
The Travel Agents’ Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) has welcomed the announcement of a 19 April starting date for quarantine free travel across the Tasman as a ‘very important stepping stone and a great foundation for going forward.’
However president Brent Thomas reiterates that the opening of Australia is not a saviour in itself for the travel agents community and is looking forward to the opening up of the Pacific and then destinations beyond – especially as vaccination programmes around the world pick up pace.
Travel Agents’ Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) president Brent Thomas says that while the seemingly imminent opening of a travel corridor between the Cook Islands and New Zealand is positive (Air New Zealand’s website lists regular flights on the route from late March) the reality is that the Cooks alone are a very small segment of the market.
‘Australia, specifically the eastern seaboard, would be a significant life line for the whole supply chain.’