COVID-19 has obviously been highly disruptive to you, our clients, as well as our business. Our team of experts is here for you as we all navigate this challenge together.
In the short term we're focused on achieving the very best possible outcomes for clients who have postponed or cancelled tours. We know that times are tough for many families so we're committed to using our partnerships and supplier relationships to do our very best for them.
In the medium term we're ensuring our risk assessment criteria remains up-to-date to account for the changes required when travel recommences. We're staying well informed of official updates, travel advisories and supplier situations across all our destinations.
Finally, as we look to the long term across our industry, we're committed to redoubling our efforts towards more sustainable travel. This will involve efforts to reduce our impact on the planet and to offer more opportunities for groups to give back to the people and places they visit on tour.
If you have any queries or concerns specific to your group travel plans, contact us in the first instance.
Ngā mihi nui
The Haka Educational Tours team
Yes, we are available to assist booked clients and to take new inquiries. Staff are working reduced hours so may take a little longer than usual to respond to communications but, between us, we are available throughout usual business hours.
Being fully cloud-based, we have seamless access to all our files and communications, including all phone lines, so you can expect our usual high level of service while we work from home.
Yes, we are working on itineraries for existing and new clients right now. These include:
- Domestic educational tours suitable for post lockdown.
- Australia-New Zealand travel opportunities within a potential Australasia bubble.
- Long term planning for international trips anticipated post COVID-19.
As the exclusive travel partner for Global Games we are working closely with the organisers to ensure we can provide our groups with frequent updates on the overall status of both the Taupo and Queenstown festivals.
At this stage, Global Games will be making an official call on the festival on the 10th of June. We strongly recommend travelling teams wait until this point to make any further decision on travel.
Within New Zealand some domestic travel and excursions, including snow tours, are available now. Haka is able to assist with social distancing and contact tracking in line with Covid Level 2 requirements.
When New Zealand and Australia open their borders to a wider Australasian bubble we will be able to offer tours between those two countries.
Wider international tours will recommence on a country by country basis when borders reopen and on the safety advice of international government travel advisory bodies such as Safetravel.
Because each of our tours is fully bespoke, our account managers are working closely with clients on a case by case basis. We are doing all we can to achieve the best possible outcomes for them.
We are not taking further non-refundable deposits on tours at this stage. As we approach any scheduled payment dates we are negotiating with suppliers and offering a range of options to our clients.
Postponements allow us to offer the most cost effective results as we've been able to shift most tours to future dates at little additional cost by working closely with destination partners and suppliers.
Cancellations are resulting in less favourable results but we understand that some groups can't postpone for a variety of reasons. While our terms and conditions state that all deposits paid are non-refundable we are working hard with our suppliers to offer clients some level of refund.
Wherever you are in the world, we can't emphasise enough the importance of adhering to local guidelines around social distancing and isolation right now.
We all want to again safely enjoy the gift of travel and all the developmental experiences it brings. Let's do our bit and stop the spread of COVID-19.
All Haka Tourism Group staff are currently working from home in isolation, as per local directives. We are taking this very seriously.
Tours will resume only when alert levels are lowered and individual tour destinations fit within the risk matrix of Haka Educational Tours and our clients.
As and when tours resume, our staff and guides will be taking increased preventative measures to ensure the risk of virus exposure is low. This will include ensuring that:
- Guests have regular access to hand-washing facilities and hand sanitiser on tour
- Social distancing is maintained where possible with handshaking and hongi greetings avoided
- Registers of close contacts on tour are kept for the purpose of contact tracing
- Accommodation, transport and activity providers have strong COVID-19 protocols in place
- All guests and contacts are monitored for symptoms
- Any localised outbreaks relevant to the itinerary are avoided altogether with safer alternatives offered
- Our local guides are able to access quality health services quickly for our clients.
Our standard terms and conditions cover such eventualities as both forced and unforced cancellations or adjustments prior to, and during, your tour.
The non-refundable deposits paid on your tour fees cover payments made to suppliers to secure your group’s transport, accommodation, activities and guide as well as our time in planning and booking your tour.
Our terms and conditions state that all deposits are non-refundable. However, we are very aware of the hard work that every student puts into fundraising and saving for each tour, and we are doing our best to deliver some level of refund. The amount refunded will take time to calculate after a cancellation is made and will depend on what we're able to recoup from suppliers.
We are able to achieve far more favourable results from postponement in the current environment than with cancellations.
Because each tour is full bespoke, we are unable to provide a set time frame for obtaining refund-related information. Our operations team are carrying out negotiations with individual suppliers and our account managers are liaising with clients on an individual basis with anticipated timelines and progress reports.
We are doing all we can to achieve best possible outcomes for impacted groups as promptly as we can. However, many of our suppliers are currently in hibernation or operating at limited capacity, and therefore wait times vary and delays unfortunately cannot be avoided.
Non-refundable deposits are collected in installments and used to secure quality group tour arrangements, including optimal flights, accommodation, ground transportation, activities, and tour guides.
Securing a group booking requires a greater commitment and a different process to that of an individual traveller. This ensures that availability and best possible rates are secured for all group members.
Group flight bookings are handled differently to individual bookings in order to cater to specific group needs.
Typically, when an individual flight is booked, a form of payment is required along with full name and passport information. Group bookings only require an initial deposit and group name to confirm. This allows for some flexibility within the group, such as passenger replacements prior to departure. The deposit is usually paid after the first deposit is received by Haka Educational Tours in order to secure the flights.
Additionally, there are key differences in the booking process and fare generation due to the wide range of components involved in a group flight booking, such as seat availability and the impact of passenger numbers on flight price etc.
Every airline has its own terms and conditions for group booking changes and cancellations. These will often vary from publicly published terms for individual bookings. We are working closely with airlines to obtain any and all deposit refunds we can for our clients on a case by case basis.
You must refer to your specific insurance provider and policy for information on what is covered even if your travel insurance was included in your tour package.
It is unusual for any insurer to provide cover for COVID-19 now that it is a pandemic, particularly if you took out your policy after it was declared a public health emergency.
Again, you must consult your specific policy.