The New Zealand Travel Industry Suppliers Group says the Government’s commitment of $47m to support the travel industry is vital to help bring back the travel funds of New Zealanders whose international travel has been canceled due to COVID-19, says the Group’s Chair, Robyn Galloway.
Travel industry suppliers, also known as wholesalers, work with travel retailers and individual customers to book international travel experiences such as guided tours, cruises, hosted small group tours, and bespoke holidays in over 150 countries. Most of the companies in the industry are SMEs with a predominately female workforce.
The COVID crisis and border closures have meant the industry has had to operate without revenue for six months so far while working to get customers their refunds from overseas operators.
“The Government’s support is vital for our businesses to continue to work to bring Kiwis’ money home,” says Robyn Galloway.
“It is estimated that nearly $700m of New Zealanders’ money is currently locked up in bookings for international travel. Getting this money back into New Zealand will be an economic boom, as it can then be spent in the local economy. This is a complicated work that relies on the expertise and relationships our travel companies have with multiple international partners.
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“We have had to cut costs and make staff redundant over the past six months just to stay in business, and many travel companies are struggling and being forced to downsize, increasing the risk that Kiwi travelers’ money will be stranded overseas.
“We make no bones of the fact the investment the Government is offering is a bare minimum. We acknowledge there are many calls on the public purse right now, but the good achieved by bringing travelers’ money home justifies government assistance. In saying that, we are extremely grateful to Minister Faafoi and his team for working with us and listening to our concerns and the remedies we put forward.
“We maintain that there are few if any New Zealand industries that have been affected and debilitated by the pandemic to the degree that the outbound travel industry has been. We have continued to work incredibly hard for our clients throughout this pandemic with no chance of a financial return.
“The Government support will help keep our industry on life support while we continue to work at bringing Kiwis’ funds home, but it won’t be enough to sustain our industry in the long term.
“It is important that we get this support to travel companies as quickly as possible. We look forward to working with the Government on the implementation details of this policy and on other support for our members,” says Robyn Galloway