All posts by Chris Harrison


Tourism Holdings Ltd appoints VINZ to audit global fleet

While their competitor may always be in trouble with the authorities about the quality and safety of their vehicles, thl is taking customer health and safety to a new level.

Tourism Holdings Limited – the largest operator of motorhomes globally has stepped up its commitment to Health & Safety even further by seeking and introducing independent and random safety inspections of their global commercial fleet. Tourism Holdings Limited (thl) is New Zealand’s largest provider of holiday vehicles for rent and sale in Australia and New Zealand under the Maui, Britz, Mighty, KEA Australia and Motek Vehicle Sales brands.

This safety audit is an additional step towards vehicle safety, beyond existing requirements and inspections will be undertaken by Vehicle Inspection New Zealand Ltd (VINZ) across New Zealand, Australia, the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

It is part of thl’s ongoing efforts to ensure optimum safety and compliance of all vehicles, provide better data about the fleets overall condition and deliver a higher quality and more consistent customer experience in all markets.

Says thl CEO Grant Webster, “quite simply, in the RV industry – the single biggest health and safety risk is moving vehicles. We do all we can to ensure the safety of our fleet – giving customers peace of mind along with other road users. This initiative is part of our continued commitment to having the safest fleet of commercial motorhomes on the road – both in New Zealand and around the world”

VINZ will carry out the inspections on-site at thl facilities, providing the equipment and staff in each location. The independent and randomly selected tests will form part of quality control checks as of next month – alongside already entrenched processes – including complete vehicle service and check by the onsite mechanic team as each camper is returned and before it leaves the site.

VINZ will provide the service directly in New Zealand and Australia, and will deliver the audits through other companies in Optimus Group (of which VINZ is a subsidiary) in markets where it does not have a direct presence.

“This agreement, and the work we have put into developing a service delivery and reporting model, represents an opportunity for VINZ to demonstrate its ability to provide customised inspection services on a global scale,” says VINZ Chief Executive, Gordon Shaw. “By working with other Optimus Group companies and their affiliates we can inspect to a global standard and also ensure compliance with regulatory standards in each sovereign market.”

Vehicles rented through Mighway, thl’s peer-to-peer campervan hire company, will also be part of the independent testing. Road Safety is absolutely paramount to thl. This partnership with VINZ is one of a number of initiatives in this space alongside the roll out of telematics in vehicles to influence navigation (driver behaviour), safety and vehicle problem diagnostics.

Sourced by Chris Harrison

About VINZ – Vehicle Inspection New Zealand (VINZ) is a specialist vehicle inspection services provider of Certificate of Fitness, Warrant of Fitness, entry certification and pre-purchase vehicle appraisal inspections for private vehicle owners and fleet operators. It provides services in its 12 branch locations throughout New Zealand and on-site via a network of partnership arrangements with repair workshops and compliance centres.

About thl – Tourism Holdings Limited (thl) is New Zealand’s premier tourism company and the largest provider of holiday vehicles for rent and sale in Australia and New Zealand under the Maui, Britz, Mighty, KEA Australia and Motek Vehicle Sales brands. In the USA thl own and operate the Road Bear RV Rentals and Sales brand. Within NZ thl operates Kiwi Experience and the Discover Waitomo Group which includes Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Ruakuri Cave, Aranui Cave and The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co. In 2012 thl entered in a joint venture to form RV Manufacturing Group LP, New Zealand’s largest motorhome and specialist vehicle manufacturer.

LYTE BYTE: Nudity, shenanigans & their 1 millionth traveller

If you’re offended by nudity … and other shenanigans look away now!

The boys (and girls) at Get Lost Travel Group are approaching their 1 millionth booking! Sooooo, thought they’d celebrate by putting together a little tongue and cheek video for your entertainment.

They’ve always liked doing things a little differently at Get Lost Travel Group, and having a good time doing it.

If you’re a bit sensitive I recommend NOT clicking below!

Video link supplied by Get Lost Travel Group, no company directors were harmed in the making of this movie (look out for Paul going a..e over kite in the MTB scene.

Well done lads, a good laugh and a great crew!

Travelling long haul soon? How flight attendant’s cope with jet lag

As someone who is about to embark on four long haul flights in the next 40 days (plus two medium haul ones). I thought it was a good idea to find out more about how to abate the issues arising from long haul flights. Afterall we have some of the longest fligths in the world. This is the best I could find – it comes from a good source, right!

There is nothing worse than losing the first couple of days of a holiday (or business trip)  to jet lag. There is also nobody better than a flight attendant to give advice on how to overcome it, which is what one flight attendant has done on the online discussion forum, Quora.

According to Shreyas P, who claims he has worked for five major airlines where he has travelled to more than 50 countries, the first step towards beating jet lag is admitting you can’t actually beat it — so stop trying. Instead, he said you’re best chance at coping with different time zones until you adjust is to meet it somewhere in the middle.

“We (flight attendants) don’t try to completely adjust to the time zones. If it is Europe then we get the time zone somewhere in the middle.” he said. “If you are used to sleeping at 11pm and in London that will mean at 4pm, we will try to sleep at 6-7pm London time. “If you are used to waking up at 8am but in Europe that may mean at midnight then give your body a bit more rest and wake up around 4am and start your day with light exercise.”

He also said you should absolutely not crawl into bed the minute you arrive at your destination if you flew overnight — no matter how tempting.

“If we have done midnight flights and land in the morning then we won’t sleep like we have missed out on the night sleep. Instead, take a nap of two hours in the day time and then wake up to eat and get some sun, and then try to sleep early in the evening.”

And finally, always, always set an alarm — and get up when it tells you to. “Whatever happens make sure you wake up when your alarm tells you to wake up.”

Anyone got any other jet lag home remedies? Mine are eyemask, eyeplugs (after you are at 35,000 feet), blanket, a comfortable pillow and change your watch/phone to the destination’s timezone and try to work with that. But my first flight is 14 hours 20 mins, so I don’t like my chances. Have your say and help your tourism industry colleagues and of course your own guests by reposting in your blogs, afterall they are all coming a long way too!

Source: News, additional comments from Chris Harrison

Travel + x = Happiness and other early insights from New Horizons

Which cities are highly rated by young travellers when it comes to friendliness or overall value? What are the biggest obstacles for youth in need of a visa for travel? WYSTC 2017 delegates will be able to find out during a preview of findings from New Horizons 4, the only recurring global survey of the youth and student travel market.
During this special WYSTC workshop Professor Greg Richards (pictured) will point out some of the trends that have evolved over the four iterations of WYSE Travel Confederation’s New Horizons survey.

In addition to the who, how, where, and what of youth travel behaviour, Greg Richards will discuss preliminary findings related to several new questions included in the survey. These questions ask young travellers about what they last splurged on for a trip, what challenges they faced in obtaining a visa, how friendly they consider certain cities, and whether travel makes them happy.

“There is a lot of research on happiness in general, but a growing body of work on happiness and tourism specifically,” said Greg Richards. “Furthermore, there are very few studies examining youth and student travellers. Other studies have concluded that travel, largely holiday travel, temporarily boosts happiness. Where youth and students travel for reasons other than just holiday and on average tend to stay longer, it could be that we see different correlations. For example, the purpose of the trip or the even the type of accommodation used could affect one’s travel happiness – we may see that the social atmosphere of a hostel wins over the ‘local’ flavour of staying at an Airbnb.”

On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy did your last main trip make you feel?
Travel is not all grins and giggles even though Instagram would have us believe that is so. A growing challenge for both young travellers and the specialised travel industry that serves them is access to visas. WYSE Travel Confederation’s Millennial Traveller survey back in 2014 discovered that at least 12% of young travellers faced travel barriers related to visa regulations. Though 12% doesn’t sound like much, this represents an estimated 20 million youth trips per year. With this in mind, questions related to visas were added to the New Horizons 4 survey.

It is not surprising that international students and young people planning to do a working holiday require a visa in most countries. In fact, preliminary data suggest that understanding visa regulations and required documentation are not considered the most significant barriers for young travellers to obtain a visa to the destination of their choice.
“It is crucial that countries recognise the social potential that youth travel represents. WYSE Travel Confederation’s San Diego Declaration on Youth, Student and Educational Travel calls on countries to facilitate youth mobility with efficient and appropriate formalities,” remarked David Chapman, Director General of WYSE Travel Confederation.

Did you experience any obstacles while acquiring your visa?
So, what is the top barrier for youth when it comes to travel visas? We’re going to save that answer for WYSTC 2017 in Montreal, so make sure to add the New Horizons 4 workshop to your WYSTC schedule.

Not yet registered for WYSTC 2017? Find out how to register here.

And Australian delegates should not forget that Tourism Australia are covering all stand costs – how good is that! Time is running out though, call WYSE or Tourism Australia today for details.

British backpackers underpaid on Far North crocodile farm

Underpaid backpackers whose job description included feeding crocodiles and cleaning up dung have been awarded more than $13,000 following a Fair Work Ombudsman investigation.

The two British nationals worked for four months as ­casuals at a Far North crocodile farm in 2016, notching up the 88-day employment ­required to become eligible for a second year in Australia on their 417 working holiday visas. Their duties included feeding crocodiles, cleaning pens, preparing feed and undertaking general maintenance and manual labour on the farm, which supplied crocodile skins to high-end European fashion labels.

The duo generally worked about 37 hours a week and were each paid a flat rate of $324 per week, with one later receiving a pay rise to $463 after he started driving a dump truck on the farm. Fair Work said the wages fell well short of the legal minimum entitlements under the Pastoral Award.

The watchdog said the workers were entitled to ­receive up to $22.13 for ordinary hours, up to $26.55 for overtime hours and up to $35.40 on public holidays. The backpackers contacted Fair Work after becoming ­concerned their working ­arrangements might not satisfy their visa requirements.

Both have now been back-paid their outstanding wages, with one worker successfully applying for a second-year visa and the other intending to apply soon.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said the farm operators had no previous ­history of breaking workplace laws and had complied with ­inspectors’ directions.

“Employers need to be aware that we treat the underpayment of migrant workers particularly seriously and will not hesitate to take appropriate action to enforce the law when we become aware of an employer deliberately taking advantage of vulnerable workers,” Ms James said.

A Fair Work spokeswoman said the identity of the farm would not be published since its operators had co-operated with authorities and backpaid the missing wages.

Is the Fair Work Ombudsman finally getting her act together, do you know any employers in your region or town who are short-paying 417 visa holders? Have your say.

Source: The Cairns Post