Travel agents will get financial help from the Government to fund their otherwise extremely quiet operations as they seek to assist kiwis seeking refunds for an estimated $690m worth of cancelled travel plans.
Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi announced yesterday (8 Aug) a consumer travel reimbursement scheme of up to $47.6 million to ensure travel agents can process refunds or credits for customers caught out by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know the travel sector and their customers have taken a massive hit due to the disruption caused by COVID-19. The Government’s been working with the sector to find a way to help agents assist their customers to get back money that they are owed by travel suppliers,” Faafoi said.
Travel agencies will be paid 7.5 per cent of the value of cash refunds, and 5 per cent of the value of credits secured for consumers. This will mean, for example, that if an agent recoups $10,000 in a cash refund on cancelled travel, the customer gets that money back and the agent will receive $750, if it’s a credit for the $10,000 cancelled travel, the customer gets the credit and the agent receives $500.
Faafoi added “I know that travel agents and wholesalers have been working hard to recover refunds and credits owed to New Zealand consumers, but are under severe financial pressure, with many facing the prospect of insolvency. It will also give greater confidence to the travel industry by limiting further insolvencies”.