The New Zealand government has announced a scheme to support the recovery of refunds and credits owed to New Zealand consumers by overseas travel suppliers.
Under the Consumer Travel Reimbursement Scheme, the government will pay Kiwi travel agencies 7.5 per cent of all refunds and five per cent of credits successfully secured on behalf of consumers. The scheme will be funded to a maximum cap of NZ$47.6 million ($43.8 million).
“This will mean, for example, that 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,” New Zealand Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said in a statement.
“If it’s a credit for the NZ$10,000 cancelled travel, the customer gets the credit and the agent receives NZ$500.”
Minister Faafoi said the scheme will be established as soon as practicable, with the NZ government working through details such as eligibility over the coming weeks.
“We want to get that money back for Kiwi customers and into the local economy as quickly as possible,” he said.
“I know that travel agents and wholesalers have been working hard to recover refunds and credits owed to New Zealand consumers, but are under severe financial pressure, with many facing the prospect of insolvency.”
New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the travel sector estimate around NZ$690 million ($634.6 million) of Kiwi consumers’ money is locked up because of COVID-19-related travel cancellations.
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