COVID-19 Consumer Travel Reimbursement Scheme
The COVID-19 Consumer Travel Reimbursement Scheme supports the recovery of refunds and credits owed to New Zealand consumers by overseas travel suppliers.
An estimated $690 million of New Zealanders’ money is locked up from travel cancelled due to COVID-19, with approximately 85% related to international travel. The COVID-19 Consumer Travel Reimbursement Scheme (the Scheme) has been established to support travel agents and wholesalers to recover refunds and credits owed to New Zealand consumers.
The Scheme is funded to a maximum of $47.2 million, to 31 December 2021. Participating travel agencies and wholesalers will be reimbursed for:
- 7.5% of the value of cash refunds (excluding GST), and
- 5% of the value of credits successfully secured or rebooked on behalf of consumers (excluding GST).
Reimbursement can be sought for refunds, credits and rebookings processed from 14 August 2020, which are made in respect of bookings confirmed on or before 14 August 2020.
On 11 June 2021 the Scheme was extended 6 months from the original end date of 30 June 2021, to 31 December 2021. Travel companies are encouraged to submit all requests by 17 December 2021.
The Scheme has been established to support New Zealand travel agents and wholesalers to obtain refunds and credits for cancelled travel on behalf of their customers. Consumers are not able to apply directly to the Scheme.
Consumers seeking refunds or credits should contact the travel agent or wholesaler they booked through. MBIE does not collect identifiable consumer information about individual bookings.
If the travel agent successfully recovers a refund or credit, consumers should receive the full value of what is recovered.
To be eligible for the Scheme, travel must have been confirmed on or before 14 August 2020 and be for travel overseas.
Customers of insolvent businesses
If the travel agent or wholesaler that you booked with is insolvent, in liquidation, in receivership, or in administration, you should contact the administrator of the company. Administrators of insolvent businesses may participate in the Scheme if they can meet all the eligibility criteria, and provide MBIE with a warranty that they are legally entitled and able to return refunds to New Zealand consumers.
Who can apply
The Scheme is open to New Zealand businesses that are recovering, or likely to recover, consumer refunds and credits for overseas travel.
TAANZ and large travel agency chains to apply on behalf of their members and affiliates
Businesses that are affiliated with the Travel Agents’ Association of New Zealand (TAANZ), First Travel, Flight Centre, Helloworld or House of Travel should not apply for the Scheme directly. Instead, these organisations will apply on behalf of their members:
- First Travel, Flight Centre, Helloworld and House of Travel will apply on behalf of their franchisees and other affiliated businesses.
- TAANZ will apply on behalf of TAANZ members that are not affiliated with one of the travel agencies named above.
If your business falls into this category, you will need to provide certain information to the business that is applying on your behalf.
Members of the New Zealand Travel Suppliers Group
If you are a member of the New Zealand Travel Suppliers Group, you should apply for the scheme as an individual business. Please also indicate in your application that you are a member of the New Zealand Travel Suppliers Group.
Independent travel agencies and wholesalers can apply directly
If your business is not affiliated with TAANZ, First Travel, Flight Centre, Helloworld or House of Travel, you will need to complete the full application process. This includes providing information about your business, your total amount of outstanding refunds, credits and rebookings, and declaring that you will meet all the requirements of the Scheme.