General Travel took guests on a ‘flight of a fabulous 50 years’ when the company marked its significant anniversary with a 70s themed party on Sunday.
Guests at the function, in The Grand Millennium Hotel Auckland, were invited to ‘dress with 1970s flair or flares’ and treated to food, drinks and ‘inflight entertainment’.
Nearby the SkyTower had been lit up for the night in General Travel’s colours.
Executive director Anna Black noted that the industry was operating in ‘a new tourism world’ now and both she and managing director John Sng welcomed guests and thanked industry partners and General Travel team members who had been with them over the years.
Founder Peter Black recalled that the company grew from a meeting he had with original partners John Copplestone and the late Ron Armstrong at a meeting in the Logan Park Hotel in Auckland.
‘We started as The Tour Company and moved on from there.’
Black says not everyone in the industry thought it was a smart move, with at least one associate predicting the venture would fail in a few months.
‘1973 was a difficult year, wth the oil crisis and French nuclear testing in the Pacific.’
Black noted milestones through following years, such as investment in Johnston’s in 1982, opening an office in 1983, and becoming General Travel New Zealand in 1988 among others.
‘I enjoyed the various ups and downs and I would not change anything if I had the time again.’
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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.
Inbound tour operators have been specifically recognised at TRENZ Hui in Christchurch as part of the Tourism Communities Plan.
Tourism Minister Stuart Nash says $14 million in existing loans from the 2020 Tourism Recovery Package will be able to be converted to grants for the sector. This means 26 ITOs may receive up to $500,000 each.
‘Inbound tour operators (ITOs) provide a vital link to global markets and need to be ready to facilitate the return of international visitors when it is safe to do so,’ says Nash
The medium term outlook for travel and tourism will depend on whether or not the world insists on waiting for a vaccine before borders are opened at all, Anna Black, chair Tourism Export Council NZ (TECNZ) said during the Tourism Temperature webinar this week.
‘Or do people start travelling without a vaccine but with safe border controls? If the plan is (ongoing) self isolation on arrival, that won’t work for international travellers.’