The New Zealand travel industry is warning holidaymakers to prepare for disruptions to their plans if they contract Covid-19 and is encouraging Kiwis to take out insurance in the event of canceled trips. Photo / Alex Burton
The New Zealand travel industry is warning holidaymakers to prepare for disruptions to their plans if they contract Covid-19 and is encouraging Kiwis to take out insurance in the event of canceled trips.
Wondering why they couldn’t change the dates of their booked accommodation or get a refund after contracting the virus last week, a traveler was informed by Bay of Plenty holiday park that they missed the deadline to be eligible be for free cancellation.
“I didn’t want to cancel my booking but kindly asked them to change the dates,” he said herald. “In such a scenario, human kindness must be required.”
Rebecca Ingram, chief executive of tourism industry Aotearoa, said it was important that holidaymakers make plans for what they would do if their trip is disrupted by Covid or other illnesses.
The Department of Health yesterday reported 7,487 cases of Covid-19, almost double the number of infections from the previous day, which experts believed could reach 10,000 by Christmas.
Ingram said both domestic and international tourists should take out travel insurance, an encouragement echoed by others in the industry.
“Tourism is restarting across the country and operators are under pressure. Our number one tip is to please book in advance wherever possible and understand that things may be different this summer as the industry gets back on its feet,” she said.
“With Covid now endemic across Aotearoa New Zealand, tourism businesses are reverting to pre-Covid cancellation protocols. Travelers should therefore carefully read the cancellation policy of their booking.”
A spokesman for Air New Zealand said the company has “really encouraged customers” to take out insurance, although the airline’s “Covid Compassionate Team” is still considering refund requests for some.
“We understand that unforeseen circumstances can arise and we encourage our customers to consider booking Flexi fares to accommodate these situations.
“Flexi-Change allows customers to change their flight time or flight date with no change fee, while Flexi-Refund means fares are fully refunded if customers need to cancel before travel,” the spokesman said.
A Flight Center spokesman said standard terms and conditions apply to most of their services, including hotels, tour and cruise operators: “That’s why it’s crucial that customers have travel insurance.”
The rules for refunds and booking changes were set by those operators themselves, they said. Most accommodation and travel companies now charge standard fees for changes and cancellations.