Tour Safety in 2021
This has been a year of change for all of us, including here at MoaTrek on our New Zealand Small Group Tours. But one thing that hasn’t changed is that we’re so grateful to be in New Zealand, where it is still possible to travel domestically with little restriction.
In order to keep guests, staff and partners safe we’ve taken the best industry and government advice on board to create our new Safe Tour Operating Protocols. Just because we’re in New Zealand where outbreaks haven’t been anywhere near as bad as in other parts of the world, we don’t want to take anything for granted and are committed to providing the safest possible travel environment on our small group tours.
So here’s an overview of what we’re doing to keep everyone safe, for the peace of mind of our tour guests and family members.
Nothing has changed here, at MoaTrek our priority is ensuring all guests and staff have a safe travel experience in New Zealand. Even before Covid-19, safety has always been our first priority and we operate under an independently audited safety plan.
Being members of industry groups such as the New Zealand Tourism Industry Association and the Bus & Coach Association as well as being a Qualmark Endorsed business means we have access to the best industry safety advice and practices for tour operators. This ensures that our operating standards match the best practices for tour operators here in New Zealand.
New Zealand is one of the safest places in the world to travel in
We are extremely lucky here in New Zealand that our case numbers have been very low and for most of 2020 & 2021 we have been able to travel around with little or no restrictions at all. This is a great starting point as we know that other countries are still under strict travel restrictions and as our domestic touring season started in Spring 2020 with our guests having to do nothing more than contact tracing and normal good hygiene we felt very fortunate.
With our small population and more importantly low population density, especially in so many of the “off the beaten track” places we visit on our tours, it’s hard to imagine a better place to be stuck in.
New Safe Tour Operating Procedures
Prior to the start of the 2020/2021 season we implemented a comprehensive set of safe tour operating procedures to ensure we are doing everything possible to keep guests and everyone else we encounter on our trips safe.
This is a comprehensive set of procedures and checks performed before and during every tour and includes coach sanitisation, guest and guide health, on board hygiene, contact tracing, equipment, 24/7 emergency support and contingency plans for any outcome.
These standards have been put together by our expert team of tourism professionals and guides and follow the latest recommendations and standards of the New Zealand Ministries of Health & Transport, World Health Organisation and relevant New Zealand Tourism Industry Groups. Our Kiwi Guides are all trained in these procedures and we allocate extra duty time before each tour to ensure our comprehensive list of pre-tour checks and preparation is completed to the highest standards.
Here’s MoaTrek Kiwi Guide Tim to explain more about our safe tour operating procedures
One of New Zealand’s most experienced tour operators
MoaTrek has been running in New Zealand since 1971 and is established as the country’s leading Small Group Tour Operator. Our people, both on the road and behind the scenes, make up one of the most experienced tour operating teams in New Zealand. Through the decades we’ve operated tours in all kinds of conditions and circumstances and at times like this that experience helps.
Our Kiwi Guides
Matt first guided in 1979
Tim guiding since 1990
Nigel guiding since 2010
Andre guiding since 2006
Andrew guiding since 1999
Richard guiding since 2005
Paul guiding since 1999
Our Office Team
Ena operating tours since 1971
Tanya working in inbound tourism since 1986
Tracy working in travel and tourism since 1984
Miles operating small group tours at MoaTours since 2008
Alisha working in small group tours (at MoaTours) since 2010
Imke working in inbound tourism since 2011
The full team has been on board and working together all through 2020 & 2021 and we've actually had some super experienced tourism folks join us this year too.
24/7 Backup and Support
Out on tour our Kiwi Guides are always in control but they’re not alone, the MoaTours office is staffed 7 days a week and in an emergency will be available to support our guides 24 hours a day. If anything happens we’re there to support our guides and help our guests in any way needed.
Another wonderful resource for us on tour, and for all Kiwis, is Healthline. This is a New Zealand government service provided free of charge for anyone with medical questions. The practical implication for us on tour is that we have 24/7 phone access to professional health advice if we need it, reassuring for us and our guests.
Highest Professional Standards
MoaTrek is committed to being New Zealand’s leading small group tour operator and as part of this we are required to meet the following independently audited operating and safety standards:
Qualmark Approved Tour Operator
New Zealand Bus & Coach Association
Department of Conservation Concessionaire
Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand
Furthermore, we adhere to and follow the latest travel advice issued by the New Zealand government, which has so far overseen one of the best Covid responses in the world.
Small Group Travel
2020 has given us even more reasons to love small group travel. Smaller groups mean more distancing, less exposure to people during a trip and the nature of visiting all the “off the beaten track” spots we love so much means most of the time we’re far away from groups and crowds of people.
On Tour Safety Practices
While New Zealand is at Level 1 or 2 of our national Covid-19 alert level system we are free to travel around the country with minimal restrictions but of course we always remind and encourage our guests to take the following simple steps to ensure everyone is safe:
- Wash your hands
- Sneeze into your arm
- If you’re not feeling well let your guide know
- Hand sanitizer will be available for all guests
- Our guides carry extra PPE equipment, including masks, and we have contingency plans for every foreseeable scenario
At Levels 1 & 2 we are not required to physically distance or wear masks, however you can choose to wear one if you wish.
As our guests are part of an organised tour, it’s not necessary to use the NZ Covid Tracing App on the coach, we already have a full list of guests and their contact details. The guide will check in to any locations visited as part of the itinerary of the tour. Guests are requested to check themselves in for any locations visited during free time.
Everyone plays a part to make our tours safe and this includes you, our guest.
We ask all our guests to ensure they are fit to travel, to follow the most recent government travel advice and follow our guide’s requests and instructions at all times.
By taking part in our tours guests acknowledge that there is still some risk.
Visit the New Zealand Government Covid-19 website for the current alert level status and the most recent government travel and health advice.
Visit the Covid-19 information page on the New Zealand Government Ministry of Transport for the latest advice about road travel within New Zealand.