Published on Wednesday, September 9, 2020

NZ government rolls out travel agency refund reimbursement scheme

The New Zealand government is launching a new NZ$47 million fund aimed at speeding up refunds for consumers' cancelled travel bookings.

The government hopes the travel reimbursement scheme will help consumers get back money much quicker, and also help keep travel agencies in business.

Officials say there is nearly NZ$700 million owed to Kiwis tied up with overseas travel suppliers.

Travel agencies will be paid 7.5% of cash refunds and 5% of the value of credit for future travel for customers.

"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," said Kris Faafoi, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

"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."

While it doesn't guarantee speedy refunds for all, it will help keep frontlinr travel advisors in work and maintain public confidence in the retail travel industry.

"We're pleased to be getting some much needed support in what has been an incredibly difficult time for travel agencies in New Zealand," said Flight Centre NZ managing director David Coombes.

"The rebate will enable the agency sector to continue to trade to ensure we can use our expertise to continue to process refunds and redeem credits."


Written by Ray Montgomery, Asia Pacific editor

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