Before we get too excited planning our long-awaited trips across the ditch, Flight Centre Travel Group chief executive Graham Turner has reminded Aussies that travel between the two countries will not be the simple thing it once was.
“The thing that’s still up in the air is whether you would be able to get covered for major disruptions that come,” he told 3AW.
“For example, if you’re in the air flying to New Zealand and they have a lockdown and you have to come back and spend two weeks in quarantine, that’s still not sorted out.
“That will be the one area that will be a bit contentious as to what the insurance companies will do.”
As she began her campaign to get Aussies to her country, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern admitted that travellers would have to prepare for sudden changes to their travel plans.
“If you have an outbreak in one state, we may pause or suspend travel for a period of time coming out of that state into New Zealand,” she told Sunrise this morning.
“Whilst we don’t anticipate there to be much disruption, we are asking people to prepare for it,” she said.
“If for instance, a state identifies itself as a hotspot and goes into a short sharp lockdown, we’d look to move very quickly to make a decision about what that means for travel to New Zealand to catch people before they depart.
“There may be a scenario where if there’s a flight mid-air, we may take a bit of time to just resolve how to deal with those passengers in that situation.
While she assured the New Zealand government would “make efforts” for Australians to immediately return home, quarantine may be used for “a very small set of circumstances”.
The Australian Federation of Travel Agents has called for a consistent approach to keeping the Trans-Tasman travel corridor open.
“We urge both the Australian and the New Zealand governments to do all they can to ensure now the corridor is open that it stays open,” Chair Tom Manwaring said.
“This is important both in terms of consumer confidence in booking travel and from a workload perspective for travel agents who are still working hard on repatriating the outstanding $4bn still owed to Australians by airlines, hotels and tour operators on COVID-impacted travel and managing re-bookings and cancellations as a result of state restrictions.”
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