Some travel businesses, such as YOURTravel & Tours based at Paraparaumu Beach, have survived and even thrived in the post-Covid environment.
The lockdown in March was tough not only on many individual businesses, but also whole industries. With borders having now been closed to both inbound and outbound tourists for months, it wasn’t difficult to figure out that the travel industry was going to have to adapt or die.
Demise was never an option for YOURTravel & Tours co-owners Tanya and Peter Roddam, despite a big part of their business providing guided tours to overseas destinations.
“Like everyone, the lockdown was a shock,” Tanya says. “A key part of our business disappeared overnight. We had tours booked and we just couldn’t take people. It was scary.”
However, resolve took the place of fright in pretty quick time. Fortunately for the Roddams, they already had a plan to diversify.
That plan was to build the New Zealand tour market.
The opportunity offered by the stay-at-home lockdown allowed the couple to look at how they would implement the plan.
“We were always going to expand our local tour market – Covid just pushed us to bring it forward.”
And the big question is, has it worked?
The smile on Tanya’s face provides the answer. She’s up-beat about the response so far from clients, and optimistic about the future.
The first organised New Zealand tour to the Nelson-Marlborough region in October was well subscribed. And another under way at the time of writing has been a full house.
It’s an indication that Kiwis are still looking to travel, and with limited overseas options, savvy tour companies, accommodation providers and tourist destinations are bouncing back.
Tanya is excited about the new opportunities. She and her team are looking forward to visiting the hidden treasures of lesser-known New Zealand.
“We love taking people to places they might never have thought of,” Tanya says.
Sixteen tours are scheduled for 2021, and one in February to Stewart Island, Fiordland and Abel Tasman National Park is sold out.
The company uses contracted drivers and luxury coaches for its tours, ensuring they are never filled to capacity. It recognises that physical space in an enclosed environment is still important to limit the risk of a Covid infection.
Meantime, day tours to out-of-town events and private bookings are still available, and the regular travel agency side is continuing as a complementary part of the business.
“We can still book accommodation and travel. We have access to all the best deals, so locals – including many people in Ōtaki who have been regular clients – can get good value, and ensure there’s piece of mind by using a reputable agency.”
YOURTravel & Tours, 17a Maclean St, Paraparaumu Beach. 04 297-1392. yourtravel.co.nz