Menu

Newsletter

July 2020: An update on the travel industry


Hi!

We hope that you are keeping warm on these Winter days - it does seem strange that we can't just book a plane to a holiday in a warmer client!!  I hope you have been enjoying some 'domestic' tourism. 

Our Team, Brigitte, Natasha, Holly and Rachel are still here! We are working from home, as tours, cruises and flights continue to be cancelled, for those who were traveling in July, August and September. 
 
Firstly, we would like to say a big thanks to all of you who have emailed, called and kept in touch with our team over this time, it has been heart- warming to have your messages and expressions of support. It has certainly been a strange old time for everyone, but we are hopeful that there are some flickers of light around international travel in the coming months, with the Trans-Tasman Bubble, and maybe the Pacific Islands.
 
We have been really pleased that in many, many cases our hard work and negotiation for disrupted holidays has been worth it! We have supplier credits with an extended and generous time to be used in the future; and when possible funds being returned on most holiday items we had booked for travellers.

Thank you for all those who are still patiently waiting for the final holiday outcome.  As there does continue to be long delays to receive supplier refunds; many requested in March, have not reached our NZ Travel Brokers Trust Account yet.   We do have around 20 summary letters in draft, that are soon to be sent, so be assured we are working hard to finalise and get out your letter so you know where you stand at this time.
 
The joke going around the office is that with our latest experience, we could change our business cards to read ‘Refund and Cancellation Consultants’!  You may also be surprised to know that in the last month we have booked (for 2021 of course!!) – a wedding to Rarotonga, a cruise around New Zealand to Australia, a Cruise around the Pacific Islands, and rebooked a number of Europe holidays for next year.  
 
Our Team News

Natasha has been enjoying working from home, Monty her Springer Spaniel has been a great foot warmer on these cold winter days.

She had a wonderful Tekapo day out recently with her family, enjoying a heavily discounted helicopter ride up to Mt Cook – much to her families delight 😊 and she has also managed to book a ‘cheap’ Motorhome, to travel the West Coast and Top of the South in the school holidays... the children are SO excited about sleeping in the Motorhome!! Not sure about the parents!!

Rachel, while enjoying the sea view from her travel desk working from home for you, would also have liked to have gone on their now-cancelled family March holiday to Rarotonga with 11 members of her family, all their first time there!

Warm weather, sand, sea, sunsets, cocktails and exploring versus chilly South Canterbury and a hoar frost when she went away to Lake Ohau for Queens Birthday weekend. Which would you prefer?

Holly has spent time homeschooling her girls through lockdown, teaching her youngest son to ride with no training wheels, baking and gardening, while also working from home, lots of multi-tasking practise through lockdown!!

Brigitte recently had a family funeral and flew to the North Island. It was lovely to see family, how different it would have been just a few weeks earlier.  Even on a weekend - what a different place all the airports were – so deserted, eerily quiet, and very little noise in the terminals. We had such an enthusiastic crew on the plane – they seemed to be SO pleased to see us, and fly us to our destination – lots of extra cookies and fudge on offer, and the AIR NZ lollies were still on the menu – they hadn’t been included in the cost-cutting  😊

Isn't it nice to be at Level 1? Daily life seems to be a bit more normal now (even if it is a new normal).

Flying domestically is largely unrestricted now, so we've quickly outlined below what flying domestically at level 1 looks like. Physical distancing is no longer required, so all seats on the aircraft can be sold, this means we'll start to see a wider range of pricing again.

The trans-Tasman bubble is starting to look like a real possibility in a few months time. This is great news! The details are now in the hands of the respective governments, and there's a brief outline below.

With the bubble in mind, it seems like a good time to highlight some Aussie Bucket List trips, starting with Australian rail journeys like The Ghan and Indian Pacific.

Train journeys are 'slow travel' and with the spectacular food and wine options onboard, these trains these journeys are perfect for those looking to relax and watch the world go by. But if you're looking for something a little more active (and closer to home), take a look at the Queenstown ski trips below.

We have also included an exclusive charter of an ex-Navy expedition vessel and for those who are keen on ocean fishing, diving, or just being out on the water, this is an exceptional experience!

TAANZ (our industry body for travel agents and brokers like us) has released a consumer factsheet about refunds

Finally, we are starting to see enquiries for trips in the October school holidays. We are working with a number of suppliers to put packages together for this. If you'd like us to look at school holiday options for you, please let us know!  
 
Kind regards,

Brigitte, Natasha, Rachel and Holly
 
phone: +64 3 688 8486
mob: +64 27 233 3027
travel@memoriesconnection.co.nz
www.memoriesconnection.co.nz
Rachel, Brigitte, Natasha, and Holly

The Trans-Tasman Bubble


The idea behind the bubble is to set up a 'safe air corridor' between our countries so that the mandatory 14-day quarantine is unnecessary for travellers.

Last year, 1.4 million Kiwi's travelled to Australia, and 1.5 million Aussies came to New Zealand, so getting back to something like this level of travel will be a lifeline for travel and tourism businesses (and any business with a tourist customer base).

The work of designing the processes for the bubble has come from The Trans-Tasman Safe Border Group, which is a bit of a who's who in trans-Tasman travel. The over 40 members are made up of 11 government agencies, six airports, two airlines, health experts, and representatives from the border agencies from both sides of the ditch. Their proposal was submitted to the New Zealand and Australian governments earlier in the month.

Based on their work, the bubble could theoretically be operational by July, but with Australia's current COVID-19 cases (and recently extended ban on international travel), September seems more realistic. And of course, Air New Zealand and Qantas will need to get flight schedules up and running.

The NZ Herald has a good overview on the bubble here.

The Facts On Refunds For Customers


Refunds are, understandingly, still a contentious topic these days for a lot of people!

To provide some clarification on why things are happening the way they are, TAANZ, the Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (of which we are Accredited Travel Advisors), has created a consumer factsheet about refunds.

The factsheet explains why refunds aren't always an option and why there can be a sometimes significant delay between requesting a refund and actually receiving it.

Download the pdf factsheet here.

Domestic Flights Under Level 1


Level 1 means things are finally getting back to something like normal!

Air New Zealand has now resumed flights to all pre-COVID domestic destinations, although not every route is back yet, and they're flying at roughly 55% of pre-COVID capacity. So we're still quite a way from the previous frequency of flights.

 When You're At the Airport:
  • Allow plenty of time to process through the airport, even if you're checking in via the app, as more and more people will start to travel again for business and leisure.
  • Domestic lounges are open except for Auckland Domestic (which is undergoing refurbishment), and Wellington and Christchurch Regional lounges.
Onboard the Aircraft
  • Social distancing is no longer required, so every seat is available for sale again. 
  • High touch surfaces onboard will continue to be cleaned regularly and hand sanitiser will be available for everyone 
  • Snacks and the beverage service is back, and so are the lollies!
Unaccompanied Minors:
  •  Unaccompanied Minors can travel domestically again. 

The Latest Travel Specials

Australian Rail Packages


Bookings are now available until 30 June 2020 for travel on The Ghan and Indian Pacific in 2021.

This is a special partial release of the 2021/22 season, and it's booking fast! The full season will be released later this year.
The Ghan

Journey into the heart of Australia with an unforgettable ride on one of the world's greatest trains, The Ghan.

This exhilarating adventure will take you past some of Australia's most magnificent landscapes, from the rolling hills of Adelaide's lush wine region and the ochre plains of the Simpson Desert, to the ancient gorges and tropical hideaways dotted throughout the Northern Territory.

From $2,404 per person twin share*

Travel dates: 04 Apr to 25 Nov 2021.
( 3 Days/2 Nights - Gold Twin Service, Adelaide - Darwin)

*Terms & Conditions apply. Valid until 30 June 2020.
Indian Pacific

The Indian Pacific represents an epic transcontinental train journey like no other. Travel between two oceans on one of the worlds longest and greatest rail adventures aboard the Indian Pacific.

From the spectacular Blue Mountains to the plains of the Nullarbor Desert, the Indian Pacific journey from Sydney - Perth (or vice versa) is a quintessential Australian experience.

From $2,270 per person twin share*

Travel dates: 01 Jun to 29 Jul 2021
(4 Days/3 Nights - Gold Twin Service, Sydney - Perth)

*Terms & Conditions apply. Valid until 30 June 2020.

Queenstown Ski Holidays

5 Night Queenstown
Sanity Saver

 
  • 5 nights motel accommodation in Queenstown
  • 4 day Earlybird Queenstown Lift Pass for use at Coronet Peak or The Remarkables
 
Travel dates:
26 June - 27 September 2020


*Terms & conditions apply. Sale ends 30 June 2020
7 Night Queenstown
Family Snow Time

 
  • 7 nights accommodation in Queenstown
  • 5 day Earlybird Queenstown Lift Pass for use at Coronet Peak or The Remarkables (includes 1 FREE Night Ski)
Travel dates:
26 June - 27 September 2020


*Terms & conditions apply. Sale ends 30 June 2020

Fiordland Fishing Trip

The trip starts with a private helicopter charter from Queenstown to meet the boat, and the next two days are spent on-board exploring Fiordland! Whether it be fishing, diving, kayaking, or paddleboarding (or all of the above!).

You'll fish the internal waters of the fjords which are protected from weather, or weather permitting, you'll head out to the Tasman sea.  The pricing below is based upon a group of 12 people, but I can reprice for a smaller group - just let me know!
 
Package Features: 
  • Meet & Greet on arrival and transfer to Helicopter Base ex Queenstown
  • Private Heli charter to Fiordland to meet boat
  • 2 nights onboard a private chartered boat with crew
  • All meals & hot drinks on board
  • Fishing Rods, tackle, wetsuits, fins, masks, snorkels, gloves, booties, weight belts, cylinders, BCD’s, kayaks & paddleboards.
  • Return Heli charter to Queenstown
Two nights onboard from NZ$3025 per person twin share*
  
Terms & Conditions Apply. Valid between: 01 June 2020 – 31 May 2021
The Ghan Terms & Conditions: Fares are valid for bookings made up until 30 June 2020 and departing from 04 April 2021 to 25 November 2021* Subject to availability, currency fluctuation and prices may increase. All pricing is based on one way fares; per person. Return fares can be calculated by using the sum of the one way fares. Advance Purchase fares must be booked more than 6 months prior to departure and are valid for Gold Service only. Gold Twin Service: Fares based on twin share. Configuration is upper & lower berth. Prices for sole occupancy is available upon request.  Child pricing applies to a child accompanying an adult and aged between 4 and 15 inclusive. Child prices are available upon request. Infants not occupying a berth and aged between 0 and 3 inclusive travel free of charge. Travel dates Shoulder Season: (Northbound only) Travel 04 - 26 April 2021, 05 September - 22 November 2021, (Southbound only) Travel 03 - 25 November 2021.

Indian Pacific Terms & Conditions: Fares are valid for bookings made up until 30 June 2020 and departing from 01 June 2021 to 29 July 2021* Subject to availability, currency fluctuation and prices may increase. All pricing is based on one way fares; per person. Return fares can be calculated by using the sum of the one way fares. Advance Purchase fares must be booked more than 6 months prior to departure and are valid for Gold Service only. Gold Twin Service: Fares based on twin share. Configuration is upper & lower berth. Prices for sole occupancy is available upon request.  Child pricing applies to a child accompanying an adult and aged between 4 and 15 inclusive. Child prices are available upon request. Infants not occupying a berth and aged between 0 and 3 inclusive travel free of charge. Travel dates Low Season: (Eastbound only) 01 June 2021 - 27 July 2021 (Westbound only) 02 June 2021 - 29 July 2021

Queenstown Ski Holidays Terms & Conditions: Prices are per person, twin share unless advised otherwise and subject to availability. Prices were correct at time of submission (JUN20) but are subject to change without notice. Bookings must be confirmed & paid in full by 30 June 2020. Advertised price valid for travel 26 June - 27 September 2020. Discounts or surcharges may apply for travel outside of this period. Ski product included in packages are non-refundable. Ski season and conditions vary from year to year. 

 
Fiordland Terms and Conditions: Subject to availability of the services specified in the itinerary when travel dates are set.  Additional surcharges may be applicable during Special Events and/or statutory public holidays, e.g. Christmas, Easter etc.  Occasionally due to special event surcharges or supplier requirements etc, deposits or full payment will be required – you will be advised of this at the time of booking. The itinerary was correct at the time of printing, but it is subject to change without notice.  Your itinerary could change due to road or weather conditions, changes imposed by other tour operators or a range of other factors outside our control.
  • Costs are based on the Travel Date selected and are subject to the availability of the accommodation and other services specified.
  • Until we have a confirmed booking from the requested services, we retain the right to adjust prices up or down based on services confirmed.
  • Once we have finalised all costs based on your confirmed itinerary you will be asked for a 20% non-refundable deposit within 7 days of confirmation and final payment is due at 65 days prior to travel.
General Terms and Conditions: *Prices are correct at time of printing, subject to availability, currency fluctuation & may be amended or withdrawn at any time without notice. Amendment and cancellation fees apply. Travel Agent professional service fees may apply. Prices are in New Zealand dollars for payment by cash, cheque and eftpos only. We welcome all major credit cards however a credit card processing fee will apply. Whilst every care is taken to accurately present the information & pricing we reserve the right to correct any errors or omissions. Further terms and conditions apply. Contact us for further details.