The Consumer Travel Reimbursement Scheme introduced by the New Zealand Government has helped return over NZ$352-million of refunds and credits to people who had overseas travel cancelled due to Covid-19, Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark has announced.
“Working with the travel sector, we are helping [people] retrieve the money owed to them by overseas travel suppliers. The scheme has seen millions of dollars locked up offshore returned to everyday New Zealanders, who were at risk of never seeing a cent,” Clark said.
According to the Minister, this means more money is coming back into the NZ economy as Kiwis now look to holiday domestically and support the local tourism industry.
Example of Government and travel industry working together
“The scheme is an excellent example of Government and industry working together for the benefit of New Zealanders. The expertise of the domestic travel sector continues to be crucial in helping get back money tied up in complex stranded bookings,” he stated.
The scheme was launched in October 2020 and pays New Zealand-based travel agents 7.5 percent of the value of all cash refunds they are able to successfully recover for their customers and 5 percent of the value of all credits successfully secured or rebooked for international travel.
For example, if an agent recoups NZ$10,000 in a cash refund on cancelled travel, the customer gets that money back and the agent will receive NZ$750. If it’s a credit for the NZ$10,000 cancelled travel, the customer gets the credit and the agent receives NZ$500.
Money was locked up due to travel cancelled by the pandemic
The travel sector and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) estimated around NZ$690-million of New Zealanders’ money was locked up because of travel cancelled due to the pandemic.
“By incentivising travel agencies to recover funds on behalf of their customers, the scheme continues to benefit both consumers and industry,” Clark said.
The Minister expressed thanks to the travel industry for its efforts to support customers during the uncertainties caused by the pandemic and encouraged applications to be made until the scheme ends. Applications to the Travel Reimbursement Scheme close on 30 June.