Article:

COVID-19 Consumer Travel Reimbursement Scheme FAQ’s

02 February 2021

Jessica Powell & Leisa Kelsen |

The purpose of the COVID-19 Consumer Travel and Reimbursement Scheme is to support New Zealand travel agents and wholesalers with the recovery of refunds and credits owed to their customers by overseas travel suppliers.

 

How long is the scheme open for?

 

This scheme is active until 30 June 2021 or to a maximum of $47.2 million. The scheme had paid out a total of $18,412,354 per the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment website as of 31 December 2020. You can visit their website here for up-to-date statistics for the scheme.

How much will I receive back from this scheme?

 

Travel agencies and wholesalers will be reimbursed for the following:

  • 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)

This only applies where bookings were confirmed on or before 14 August 2020, and the applicable refund/credit/re-booking occurred after 14 August 2020

Travel agents and wholesalers should pay consumers the full value of what is recovered.

Who can apply for the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Reimbursement Scheme?

 

Any New Zealand business that is actively recovering, or is expecting to recover refunds or credits on behalf of New Zealand consumers for overseas travel booked prior to 14 August 2020.

  • TAANZ affiliated businesses and those affiliated with large travel agency chains should not apply for the scheme directly – these organisations will apply on behalf of their members
  • Members of the New Zealand Travel Suppliers Group should apply for the scheme as an individual business
  • Independent travel agents and wholesalers may apply directly to the scheme

For further details about how to apply, please visit the MBIE website here.

Can businesses in administration or liquidation still apply to the scheme?

 

Yes – The Administrators of an insolvent, liquidating, or business in receivership, can still apply to the scheme provided they meet all the eligibility criteria.

In addition, they are required to provide MBIE with a warranty that they are legally entitled (and able) to return refunds to New Zealand customers.

Can the consumer apply for the scheme directly?

 

No – consumers cannot apply directly to the scheme. If you are a concerned consumer, you should contact your travel agent or wholesaler directly.

Does the scheme apply to domestic (New Zealand) travel?

 

No – the scheme only applies to overseas travel, where the travel agent or wholesaler is seeking a credit, refund, or re-booking on behalf of their client.

What are my obligations under the scheme?

 

Your business will need to agree to the following declaration.

Among the most important items of this declaration, you are declaring that:

  • The information you have provided is true and correct
  • You will only seek reimbursement for eligible transactions
  • You will provide information if requested to MBIE and its Auditors
  • MBIE will make the details of your business and reimbursements claimed available to the public

Where can I find a copy of the declaration for the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Reimbursement Scheme?

 

The declaration can be access on the following link for the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Reimbursement Scheme.

Will the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) be retaining information about individual consumer bookings?

 

No – MBIE has advised they are not collecting any identifiable consumer information about individual bookings.

How long will MBIE take to process my application?

 

MBIE is currently aiming to process applications to the scheme in 5 working days.

Once approved, MBIE will provide you with information about the invoicing and payments process directly.

The application form can be found on the following link.

Where do I send my completed application to?

 

Completed applications can be sent to [email protected] and should include an independent verification of your bank details.

The application form can be found on the following link.

What information will be required as part of the application?

 

If you are a lead applicant (applying on behalf of another party) or applying directly, you will need to provide the following details as part of your application:

  • Business’s legal name
  • Business’s trading name
  • New Zealand Business Number (NZBN)
  • GST Number
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Business’s physical address (including post code)
  • A forecast of the business’s outstanding refunds, from 14 August 2020 (in NZD)
  • Credits confirmed with consumers before 14 August 2020 and awaiting rebooking (in NZD)
  • Additional credits likely to be notified to consumers, from 14 August 2020 (in NZD)

You will also need to sign the declaration and provide an independent verification of your bank details.

Lead applicants will need to keep a written record of consent given by each party for you to apply on their behalf. This includes agreeing to the obligations and requirements set out in the declaration.

 


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