Greg Hamilton Greg Hamilton

Empty desks waiting to be filled

The industry is having to cope with rapid growth in volume on as little as 25% of the pre-Covid workforce, says new Travel Agents’ Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) CEO Greg Hamilton.

‘In every agency and head-office I have visited in my first week, I have seen empty desks waiting to be filled again.’

Hamilton notes the the industry has gone from famine to feast in the space of a couple of weeks, with members reporting up to 90% total transaction value (TTV) compared to pre-Covid days

‘This is led by pent-up demand from Kiwis wanting to reconnect with friends, family and wider whanau they haven’t seen since before the pandemic. Package holidays to Rarotonga and Fiji have also been flying out the door. I also understand that UK / Europe is going extremely well.

‘Once again travel agents are demonstrating their resilience and doing a heroic job. Fair to say, that heroism may not been well understood by many outside the industry, but I do believe that the travel consumer will, in a post-Covid world and even more so than pre-Covid, recognise the value and importance of the travel agent to them and their families.

‘Getting travel agents back into the industry and attracting and training new people into a travel career must be  top priority for the industry because we know once the borders are fully open without Covid testing hassles and uncertainty there will be further growth in travel demand.

Of course, later in t’he year we can expect to see capacity grow as more carriers signal their intent to return to New Zealand.’

(See also page 9: View from across the ditch)

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