Flight Centre Travel Group‘s home-based network of travel advisors will be counting on consumer confidence to thrive and holiday bookings to flow under the TransTasman Bubble initiative.
Danielle Galloway, FCTG’s General Manager of Premium Leisure (Travel Associates, Franchise and FCTG Independent) says the travel ‘bubble’ between Australia and New Zealand has the potential to lure back to the industry those independent advisors who were hit hardest by the COVID travel downturn, forced to find new lines of work.
“In terms of our independent agents, one of the key benefits of this announcement will be the confidence boost that it provides to both agents and travellers,” Galloway told LATTE.
“”While the independent travel entrepreneurs have been in business hibernation for the past 12 months, we are now seeing signs of recovery and re-awakening. With green shoots starting to flourish and customers returning to book local travel, the signs are positive. In fact, FCTG is seeing NZ bookings at around 75% of previous levels which is a great sign,” Galloway said.
“This has been the major benefit of our independent business model. These micro or small businesses have been able to keep overheads low and find alternative income sources in the interim, but we do now need to see the confidence return to the industry and these important corridors remain open, with more to follow,” she added.
Galloway said COVID has devastated the travel industry.
“This will be such a loss for those customers who really understand the enormous benefits offered by a great travel agent who will support your travel needs no matter what,” she said.
“It’s why FCTG created the new independent division, because our industry relies on the expertise and the ability of these talented people to bring holiday dreams true for customers.”
“Our goal was to support as many people as we could to continue in the industry as independent contractors. It’s now up to the Government to continue to provide travel confidence to both agents and customers alike so that we can all get back to the joy of travel!”
“The AUNZ travel bubble is a very solid start so we look forward to much more of the same!” she said.
Galloway’s hope is for future travel bubbles from Australia to the likes of Fiji, Tahiti, Singapore and the Cook Islands.
“To be honest, absolutely anywhere! We simply cannot wait to get back to booking incredible holidays for our clients to enjoy!”
Lead image: Lake Dunstan, Central Otago | Credit: Tourism New Zealand