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Tour Time tips on post-COVID travel

Tour Time is a family owned, full-service tour operator that has specialised in group tours to global destinations for over 29 years. NZCF has enjoyed their sponsorship of The Big Sing since 2013 and we are especially grateful to them for their continued support in 2021, despite the impacts of COVID-19 on the travel industry.  

With the Trans-Tasman bubble opening up, and vaccination programmes rolling out around the world, Tour Time are looking forward to better days ahead and have put together some tips for choirs planning post-COVID travel…

With the closure of the borders last year came a load of uncertainty… what was the world going to look like on the other side of this?  How would we ever feel safe again heading outside, let alone overseas?  But the world has indeed started healing and all the while we have had the benefit of an enormous amount of freedom here in New Zealand.

While the concept of group travel may still seem somewhat distant for choirs and music groups, we have recently seen the restart of performance tours in overseas markets, which might just make you start to wonder about the possibilities.  So, if this is the case, here are some things you should know when faced with the two most important questions: Will I be safe? Will my funds be safe?

1. Travel is no longer off the cards for any group wanting to spread their wings, however your destination selection is important – so do your research and talk to people in the know. Some questions you need to ask are: should we go soon, stay domestic and explore beautiful New Zealand? Is Trans-Tasman the right move for us in the mid-term?  Shall we take a longer view and head towards an overseas destination in 2022-23, buying ourselves some time?  The key is to think about your timing requirements so you can plan ahead and save. It may be that a combination of the above is right for your group, so have a talk to your choir and just know that there is now a path ahead, should you wish to follow it.

2. Choose a partner who has done the leg work and has the accreditations. What does being COVID-Ready actually mean for you?  It means that your partner has literally ticked all the boxes. Tour Time completed 97 pages of documentation to be accredited by WTTC (World Tourism Travel Council) as one of a handful of companies in New Zealand that have acheived Global Best practices for being COVID-Ready. That means we looked at how to keep you safe in the air, on the ground, in hotels, on your buses and at your performances… every aspect of your safety while on tour has been carefully considered and plans have been put in place to manage all risks and eventualities in our new post-COVID world. Our globally-recognised accreditations mean we have a plan for your safety, and you shouldn’t accept anything less from any travel partner.

3. When you are choosing a travel partner you need to make sure that you protect your finances, so always ask your potential partner if they are TAANZ Financially Bonded. As tourism and travel is an unregulated industry, post-COVID it is even more important that you know that your funds are safe and not being used for operational costs or to cover the cost of their last tour.  TAANZ Financial Bonding ensures that every cent you pay towards your tour plans are held in a separate account for YOUR tour only. These client-specific accounts are independently audited twice yearly to ensure the highest level of protection. This is what financial certainty should look like for you when choosing who to work with.

As always, Tour Time are here supporting our local choral industry and when you are ready to take the show on the road, we can stand by you in the certainty we have done all we can to make the post-COVID travel world a safer one for you.