Skroo Turner Skroo Turner

New Zealand open by Christmas?

Flight Centre managing director Graham ‘Skroo’ Turner admits he may be a ‘bit optimistic’ but predicted yesterday that New Zealand would open its borders to certain places before Christmas.

Speaking during Flight Centre Corporate’s Illuminate virtual event yesterday, Turner noted that Covid was in the community on this side of the Tasman.

‘So there is no reason they can’t open up to fully vaccinated people. Vaccination is the key, perhaps with 72 hour testing as well.’

He was less optimistic about Western Australia, saying that many Australians will probably be able to catch up with friends and family in London before they can with those in WA.

Turner was positive about the medium term future of Flight Centre’s business.

‘We will come back stronger than we went into this but it won’t happen in the next six months. It will be two and a half to three years before we get back to pre-Covid levels of sales.’

He feels that although many of the company’s former staff have needed to move on to other jobs, there will be an attraction when the travel industry starts to ramp up again.

‘A lot of our people do love travel and they want to come back. Our first priority is to bring our former people back and that is happening in the UK and North America at the moment and we’re starting (to do) that in Australia.’

Turner expects travel to go reasonably smoothly once things open up but says people will need to have the most up to date information in terms of travel passes, vaccination passports and other ‘paperwork’.

‘I think for anyone travelling over the next year they will really need a travel advisor who has good access to information. That’s something we really can do for our clients.’

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