Those tourism operators still in business are mainly intending to tough the current crisis out by adapting to the new conditions, the latest Covid-19 Tourism Industry Survey shows.
Released at the Tourism Industry Aotearoa Summit in Wellington this week, the survey revealed that 43% of respondents are staying in business ‘pretty much as they were’, while 47%
are continuing to operate but at a reduced capacity. Meantime 10% of respondents have placed their businesses in hibernation. None had ceased trading but TIA chief executive Chris Roberts,
Waiheke Island is encouraging the trade to look at mid-week packages for clients as they look to domestic bookings.
The island’s ‘mini regional tourism office (RTO)’ – Waiheke Island Tourism Inc – has had a new lease of life with a focus on the Kiwi market.
Daniela De-Bruyn, who represents the organisation (and is also marketing and communications manager for Waiheke Winegrowers Association) says operators got together via Zoom during
The country’s largest accommodation network says occupancy rates are on the rise in the wake of Covid enforced lockdowns.
Quest Apartment Hotels New Zealand CEO, Stephen Mansfield, says despite widespread set-backs July sales finished just 7% below revenue for the same time last year.
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.
Viva has launched an easy getaway for couples, friends and foodies on Waiheke Island.
Clients stay in a boutique luxury lodge with ocean views and an in-house fine dining chef who will design a four course dining experience to suit.
Two travel industry stalwarts have launched what they describe as an ‘agent-centric’ domestic wholesaler. New Zealand 4 Discovery has been created by Mike Geary, formerly of GO Holidays and House of Travel; and Francis Mortimer, previously with Air New Zealand.
More recently, the two have run their own travel businesses – Geary in hotel representation across the South Pacific and Mortimer wholesaling inbound travel from the French markets.
Lesiure Time is promoting a range of tours in New Zealand that incorporate special interest themes. These include gardening, walking and wine and cuisine through to aviation, rail, agriculture and small boat experiences.
Vicki Annison, sales and marketing manager with Leisure Time Travel says the bespoke tours give definite opportunities to the trade.
Viva is offering an escape to the countryside region of Wairarapa, where the views and incredible wineries make an ideal setting for a short luxury getaway from Wellington.
Clients stay in the luxury of Wharekauhau's country estate, set above Palliser Bay. They can relax in front of the fireplace and/or take a walk or bike ride on one of the many trails over the estate.
A nature cruise on Okarito Lagoon, on the West Coast, is a key feature of MoaTours’ Southern Beauty tour.
MoaTours founder Ena Hutchinson points out that Okarito Lagoon is New Zealand’s largest pristine wetland and home to 76 bird species. Most notably it is the only breeding area in the country of the kotuku or white heron.
An ‘indepth and slower paced journey’ titled New Zealand Panorama is a new tour in AAT Kings’ 2021/22 programme launched last week.
The programme also includes added exclusive experiences in existing itineraries, plus stringent new wellbeing protocols. There is a 10% early bird discount on selected trips and a $99 per person deposit offer, allowing guests 30 days to change their mind.
Working with agents to tailor make packages for their clients has become a successful strategy for Inspired New Zealand Tours as domestic passengers look for something bespoke in a domestic holiday.
Director John Gregory says groups can be as small as six, benefiting on a personal level by touring with international standard drivers and guides.
Leisure Time Travel is promoting a five day Coromandel Sights and Beaches tour mid April.
Leisure Time’s marketing manager Vicki Annison says the itinerary from 13 to 17 April, takes in the Rapaura Water Gardens, Driving Creek Railway, Matarangi, Buffalo Beach, Whitianga, Cathedral Cove, Hot Water Beach and Whangamata.
Multi generational travel, ‘hub and spoke’ itineraries, and complex trips combining food, wine and adventure are all areas that travel agents can work in to benefit from Kiwis’ increasing desire to get on their bikes.
Janet Purdy, general manager of Ngā Haerenga The NZ Cycle Trail, says agents are definitely engaging with the organisarion and its operators and earning commission as a result.
Regions and other places that can tell a different story and provide a ‘deeper dive’ into local experiences are the ones that are most likely to succeed in the domestic market, says Louise Frend, destination advisor with Destination Kaikōura.
Cruise World reports its NZ Traveller series has had a solid start since it launched a few weeks ago.
‘We did a lot of quoting in the first couple of weeks and in the last two weeks bookings have been coming in, which is encouraging, ‘says general manager Cherryl Browne. ‘Some enquiry is for the standard package and others have done customising with pre and post package arrangements.’
Cruise World has released its latest New Zealand package – TranzAlpine, Vines & Whales, four nights, five days Christchurch return.
The independent itinerary showcases the TranzAlpine scenic train trip from Christchurch to Greymouth, with self-drive independence from Greymouth to Punakaiki and along to Blenheim. Clients help deliver
Travel agents gearing themselves more to the domestic market, and wanting to avoid challenges of dealing with individual properties and operators while looking like instant experts to their clients, have resources and channels at their fingertips, says David Kettle, director of nzsidekick.
MoaTours’ Country Roads & Cross Hills Gardens Fair is a seven-day, six-night small group tour that visits country gardens of the Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Northern Wairarapa and Manawatu in the spring.
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.
Apex Car Rentals has launched a new car subscription service. Apex Subscribe provides a 28-day car rental for a monthly fee and includes insurance, maintenance, registration, and roadside assistance.
A ‘technically overseas destination’ that is reached without leaving New Zealand is gaining popularity amongst consumers and consequently providing opportunities for the travel trade.
Tourism Chatham Islands manager, Jackie Gurden, says one of the key drivers for growth right now is the inability of Kiwis to head offshore for their holidays. ‘One operator has completely filled tours with people who have cancelled their overseas trip, and they weren’t necessarily existing clients.’
A group designed to ensure that small operators in the tourism sector get their say in the future of tourism has grown from a handful of members to more than 120 in its Facebook group in the space of a week.
Insight Vacations has launched its first Local Escapes collection, a selection of five itineraries across New Zealand and Australia.
Scott Cleaver, The Travel Corporation’s general manager says a recent survey of Insight Vacations’ Kiwi clients showed that 74% are comfortable to travel locally in 2020.
Further local research done by Insight revealed that 46% of domestic travel is driven by a desire to give back to local business and communities, and 56% of travellers want to see a clear and outlined hygiene and wellbeing policy before booking.
Agents are reminded that future travel credits may be redeemed to book the Local Escapes trips. Insight Vacations has also introduced $99 deposits on new bookings until 1 September 2020, and a 30-day refund guarantee.
The Local Escapes collection, available to book now, includes five itineraries across New Zealand and Australia with departures starting from September and continuing into 2021. Among the choices are: Taste of New Zealand’s North Island, Scenic Roads of the South Island, and Tasmania’s Food, Whiskey & Wine. All five itineraries are available to book now.
A touch of the Wendy Wu Tours’ international experience combined with a ‘behind the scenes’ look at New Zealand provide a point of difference for the company’s just launched domestic programme, says managing director Paul Dymond.
‘We didn’t want to put something into the market that was already there,’ says Dymond. ‘These are fully inclusive tours aimed specifically at the Wendy Wu customer – and we’ve got hundreds of
The combination of gardens and gold rush towns gives MoaTours’ Otago Farmhouse Gardens and Oamaru Victorian Fete tour a point of difference for clients.
New Zealand agents’ enthusiasm for promoting and selling domestic programmes has been an encouraging development in recent weeks, says Nick Guthrey, managing director of ANZCRO.
Guthrey has added his voice to calls for a trans Tasman travel bubble and feels that the desire to get people doing different things in their own country may translate to a new approach by Kiwis in Australia as well.
The ‘Fiordland - Beyond Belief’ campaign was launched this week, targeting domestic travellers now and positioning Te Anau as ‘base camp’, while opening the eyes of international visitors to the fact there’s more to Fiordland than Milford Sound.
Destination Fiordland manager, Madeleine Peacock says the challenge was to find a positioning that reflects all the region’s majesty and helps drive visitation by making Fiordland an authentic and unmissable part of
Leisure Time Tours is offering an escape to Fiordland on what it describes as the ‘ultimate fishing trip.’
Vicki Annison, sales and marketing manager with Leisure Time Group, says guests start the weekend flying from Queenstown by helicopter to a privately chartered boat cruising one of the fiords in the area.
They spend the next two days on-board exploring Fiordland, fishing, diving, kayaking, or paddle boarding. ‘Fiordland is a special place for fishing as there are a wide variety of local and seasonal fish species to be
What started as a ‘crisis project’ for Asian specialist Active Asia, has become an integral part of what the company does, says Valentina Mould-Morelli, creative director and marketing.
‘New Zealand is the natural world we call home and it will still cause clients to catch their breath.
‘Despite the plethora of competition out there selling New Zealand, we felt there was still space for something new.’
Inspired New Zealand Tours’ Essential North Island and Essential South Island are designed as comprehensive introductions to the destinations for Kiwi clients who may not have had any indepth experience of the island they don’t live in.
A new website has been launched by Inspired New Zealand Tours, setting out a range of 2020-21 itineraries that can be accessed by the New Zealand travel trade.
Director John Gregory says that while the company has nine core tours, with multiple departures between September 2020 and April 2021, Inspired New Zealand Tours is also keen to interact with any agents and brokers not only interested in selling the set programmes but also in developing bespoke tour options specifically for their client bases.
Leisure Time Tours is offering an 11-day tour through the North Island that discovers some of the most ‘Gram worthy’ destinations and activities that have been dominating Instagram feeds around the world.
There are three package levels (standard, superior and premium) to choose from plus a range of optional extras to produce a flexible holiday.
Destination Queenstown will launch a ‘dream, plan, book’ winter campaign on 1 June to stimulate demand for Kiwis to travel post-lockdown.
This includes a new hero campaign video that showcases the Queenstown winter experience, followed by targeted promotional content to communicate Queenstown’s offering and deals to different segments. Hero product and member deals will then be promoted to drive traffic to queenstownNZ.nz and generate referrals.
Tour company Bush and Beach has developed a series of tours especially for Auckland locals and New Zealanders visiting Auckland.
Managing director Ben Thornton says details will be announced shortly and the company intends taking bookings from 1 June.
Meantime, the company has extended its operations by delivering Auckland Council food parcels under contract to New Zealand couriers.
MoaTours’ Southern Odyssey: Stewart Island and the Catlins tour is one of the company’s favourites and gives Kiwi agents a chance to sell a product which is domestic but little visited by the local market.
‘Many travellers have had Stewart Island in their sights for a long time, so there is a sense of triumph from actually having made it,’ says MoaTours founder Ena Hutchinson.
A company which has been offering global trips to women for the past 13 years is currently putting together excursions in New Zealand and has already had its first such trip sell out.
Julie Paterson, founder of Venus Adventures, says she was stranded in New Zealand (she usually lives in Egypt to be close to her global destinations) and she has had to do a ‘quick pivot’.
Regional tourism office, ChristchurchNZ, has launched a campaign to promote the city, Canterbury and the West Coast to the wider domestic market.
It follows recent analysis from Deloitte that showed Canterbury has the potential to retain $1b in tourism spend that typically goes overseas.
While Tourism New Zealand is confident there will be a viable visitor economy for the country, the results of its pre Budget survey make grim reading.
Operators are forecasting layoffs to 52% of their work force, in the regions 49% lay-offs. All businesses surveyed report making hard decisions to keep their business alive – 37% have reduced staff, 31% are mothballing assets and operations, 9% have sold assets.
Going into hibernation is not an option for inbound tour operators who are working on programmes a year or two into the future, this week’s Epidemic Response Parliamentary Committee was told.
‘We’re seeing some attractions, hotels and others going into hibernation but that doesn't work for us,’ says Matt Brady, managing director of Pan Pacific.
The chance for clients to discover ‘New Zealand the way it used to be’ is a major attraction of MoaTours’ East Cape Caper, says company founder Ena Hutchinson.
‘Our tour stays a night in Whakatane, then heads to Hicks Bay and on tto Gisborne and Rotorua, enjoying local hospitality along the way.’
Hutchinson adds the trip includes private homestead lunches at Te Kaha, Anaura Bay and Lake Tarawera.
Other highlights include a Te Puke kiwifruit orchard, the East Cape Manuka Company, St Mary’s Church at Tikitiki, Tairawhiti Museum with its major Maori and Captain Cook displays, and the world renowned Eastwoodhill Arboretum.
East Cape Caper also visits Tiromoana – a coastal garden at Wainui Beach – and entry into the grounds and museum at Te Wairoa Buried Village, Lake Tarawera.
AIM Holidays has expanded its domestic product range to keep up with anticipated demand for domestic travel, says reservations manager Jay Soysa.
AIM Holidays has operated in the domestic market for over five years and to date the concentration has been on short-stay packages in the main cities, packages with a show or event ticket or overnight stays at Auckland Airport.
Business confidence among New Zealand’s hotel sector is much bleaker than business confidence in general, according to a new survey.
The New Zealand Hotel Market Sentiment Survey was undertaken by Horwath HTL and Tourism Industry Aotearoa to examine how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting hoteliers’ outlook for the New Zealand hotel market in general and their hotel in particular; 115 hoteliers responded to the survey which was carried out between 30 April and 5 May 2020.
Active Adventures has released four New Zealand itineraries designed specifically for the domestic market with lower price points and shorter durations than the company’s usual trips.
The trips will also suit Australian guests once a trans Tasman bubble is confirmed.
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.