Health and Safety
The team at Grand Pacific Tours look forward to providing you a New Zealand holiday experience of a lifetime. This Touring with Confidence Guidebook is a valuable resource outlining our detailed approach to Health and Safety, so you can travel with us and be assured that your well-being is our number one priority.
Coach touring is a group travel shared experience and the instigation of extensive health and safety protocols incorporating the entire travel period is integral to the success of the tour.
In this new and fast changing post pandemic era, we are doing all we can to adapt to new requirements and expectations. Measures have been put in place to elevate our hygiene standards and protocols and we are working in tandem with guidelines set by our suppliers, government health authorities and the World Health Organisation.
We want you to feel comfortable and confident when touring with Grand Pacific Tours (GPT).
Our tours consist of a mix of travellers that either reside in Australia ("Travellers residing in Australia") or travellers residing outside of Australia from New Zealand, UK, USA, Canada and other countries (“Travellers residing outside of Australia’’).
GPT’s demographic of traveller is generally aged 50 + or for those who prefer a low impact itinerary.
You should have a good level of fitness and health to cope with full days of travel which may include walking and climbing stairs. We recommend you visit your doctor and dentist before travelling. To ensure you see the best New Zealand has to offer, most touring days depart following breakfast and arrive at the new destination just prior to dinner.
The 11 Day Ultimate Top of the South Island and 11 Day Signature Top of the South Island requires a moderate level of fitness as several short walks of up to 1 hour are included. The walks are scenic and not excessive but can include slight inclines and uneven surfaces. Please ensure you feel comfortable with this level of fitness before making a booking.
Understanding your Health and Fitness
Important information relating to your health, mobility and fitness which may affect your partial or total participation in the tour and the enjoyment of other travellers must be reported to GPT at time of booking. If you have a disability or medical condition that requires special attention, or if your health, mobility and fitness change prior to tour departure, this information must be reported to GPT as soon as possible. This information is necessary to allow GPT to ensure the tour chosen is suitable and meets your needs. Where possible GPT will make reasonable modifications to the tour to accommodate any special requirements however, it cannot do so if the modification required would be unreasonable or if it would affect your safety and / or the safety and / or enjoyment of other travellers.
If you require personal assistance or care (such as pushing a wheelchair, assistance with dressing or assistance with walking), you must travel with a companion capable of providing the required assistance or care. GPT does not provide personal assistance to any traveller. Travelling with a collapsible wheelchair / mobility scooter is subject to availability at the time of booking as each tour only has the capacity to cater for one wheelchair / mobility scooter traveller - conditions apply. Accessible Rooms are subject to availability and not always allocated in the room type advertised and may be located away from the group. Accessible Rooms are not available on the Milford Mariner or Fiordland Navigator overnight cruises.
GPT makes reasonable effort to accommodate the needs of travellers with specific disabilities however, it is not responsible for any denial of services by any third party or independent suppliers or for any additional expenses charged by those parties.
Good to Go Form
Payment of a deposit and completion of the Good to Go Form acknowledges that you have read, understood and accepted our Booking Terms and Conditions. It also acts as a warranty that you are reasonably healthy and/or fit to participate in the tour and you indemnify GPT from all actions, claims and demands arising out of any want of health and fitness. It is important that you choose the right tour to avoid disappointment.
Once a reservation has been confirmed, GPT will provide a Good to Go Form for completion.
This important form will require information unique to your touring experience.
Key details will be requested:
- Emergency contact and next of kin details
- General well-being
- Dietary and allergy advice
- Contact details
It is your responsibility to ensure you understand and follow the airline and government regulations for travel to New Zealand. GPT take no responsibility if travel or entry into New Zealand is denied due to regulations not being met.
Based on the removal of the New Zealand government COVID-19 mandates, the following now applies:-
- You will no longer be required to get a COVID-19 pre-departure test to enter New Zealand.
- Travellers arriving at New Zealand, and travelling on a GPT tour, are no longer required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
- You are no longer required to wear a face mask including at healthcare facilities e.g., hospitals, aged care facilities and pharmacies.
- You are no longer required to mandatory isolate for 7 days if you contract COVID-19.
- GPT no longer have a mandatory policy for travellers to leave the tour if they test positive to COVID-19.
The below popular reference sites hold the most up to date information for residents of Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA & Canada:
- Australia - www.smartraveller.gov.au/COVID-19
- New Zealand - www.covid19.govt.nz
- United Kingdom - www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/new-zealand/entry-requirements
- USA - www.travel.state.gov
- Canada - www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/new-zealand
Airline Policy and Procedures
Every airline will enforce their own set of travel protocols which must be adhered to, ensuring the wellbeing and safety of all travellers.
It is important that you research the set protocols and requirements of your nominated airline prior to travel, as these are forever changing based on government enforced requirements. GPT is not responsible if you fail to meet mandatory travel requirements and are denied boarding.
Prior to departure, you should ensure you are healthy and well to travel. In line with advice from health authorities, if you have cold and flu-like symptoms you should stay home.
To help reduce contact, airlines encourage online check-in through mobile apps / airline website prior to arriving at the airport.
Social distancing will be promoted throughout the entire airport experience.
Currently all mask-wearing requirements have been removed in New Zealand, except in healthcare settings, including hospitals, aged care facilities and pharmacies. Within Australia, mask wearing will no longer be required in airport terminals, however it is still important you continue to maintain healthy habits.
High touch surfaces will be cleaned regularly, and each airline will be taking extra steps to ensure all airline lounges and airports are cleaned repetitively throughout the day. It doesn’t hurt to pack antibacterial wipes to clean your personal area or for use after visiting the bathroom.
Travellers from Australia who are citizens of other countries may apply for a visa or complete an NZeTA.
Please ensure all required Travel Declarations are completed before you travel.
The below reference site holds the most up to date information if you are travelling with Air New Zealand:
- Air New Zealand information hub - www.airnewzealand.co.nz/travel-requirements-new-zealand
New Zealand Airport Transfers
Based on GPT’s Booking Terms and Conditions, airport transfers in New Zealand are included on the first and last day of your GPT tour. This includes any pre or post tour accommodation directly linked with the tour hotel.
Transfer drivers are fully trained, aware and compliant to ensure complete guest experiences, and understanding the nature of the current travel environment. They operate the highest levels of safety.
Vehicles will be fully cleaned and sanitised for each new transfer.
Contact details of GPT Transfer companies is located on the Emergency Contact Card provided as part of your documentation pack/pre-travel information if contact is required on arrival.
Professional Coach Captain & Tour Leader (Crew)
At the commencement of your tour, you will be introduced to your expertly trained Crew – Tour Leader and / or Coach Captain.
The Coach Captain is responsible for driving and maintaining the coach and for providing commentary throughout the tour. The Tour Leader (or Coach Captain when Tour Leader is not allocated) is responsible for your wellbeing and for coordinating all the accommodation and activities. It is important while on tour that you follow your Tour Leader and / or Coach Captain instructions.
Your Crew are provided with a set of Standard Operating Procedures to ensure a methodical operation resulting in the continual safety of all travellers.
They are trained to react and activate further protocols should any unexpected issues arise while out on the road.
During your tour they will operate with a duty of care and monitor the hygiene etiquette of the group, reacting and advising as needed to ensure high standards are maintained. We ask that you heed their advice.
Whilst they will be informed of specific details noted in your Good to Go Form, we also encourage you to communicate directly with any specific requirements that should be noted.
The Crew will be on-hand to oversee everyone as they are embarking and disembarking the coach.
The Crew will do a head count prior to moving on from each stop to ensure all travellers are safely onboard.
GPT pride ourselves on the standard of our modern touring fleet. Each Coach Captain takes immense pride in the standard and presentation of their touring vehicle.
Regularly, a Touring with Confidence DVD will be shown onboard the coach. This rotating slide presentation includes key messaging important within a group travel environment.
In keeping with good hygiene practice as stated by the Ministry of Health, the coach is cleaned with antiseptic wipes or disinfectant, including bleach solutions, at the end of every shift so that the potential spread of infection can be minimised. Hard surfaces include windows and sills, handrails, door handles, plastic seat backs, seat armrests and toilet areas. Disposable gloves are worn while cleaning.
The air conditioning systems in our coaches use a mixture of recirculating and regularly replaced fresh air so it is not the same air being recirculated all the time. Filters in the air conditioning units are cleaned regularly to ensure maximum air flow.
Selected coaches are fitted with Anti-Virus units which reduces the risk of contracting airborne contaminants.
Hand sanitiser is freely available on board for use throughout the day.
Each coach has a fridge available for storage of medications. These must be retrieved at the end of each day.
Bottled water is available for purchase on each coach in order to stay hydrated.
Each coach has the provision of sick bags if required.
Each coach has the provision of onboard Fire Extinguishers and a (basic) First Aid Kit.
The most effective protection from personal contamination is ensuring strict attention to personal hygiene. Colds and other viruses can spread quickly in an enclosed area, such as a coach, you will be asked to follow hygiene practices recommended by the World Health Organisation including some of the following:
- Socially distancing is the new norm, wherever possible
- Visit a medical practitioner as soon as illness is detected
- Complete a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) for peace of mind (provision and cost is your responsibility)
- Practice common sense hygiene and respiratory courtesy
- Wash your hands often
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Carry an anti-bacterial hand sanitiser (in addition to using the onboard sanitiser)
- Use the hand sanitiser frequently, after sightseeing, prior to meals and throughout the day
- Providing and wearing a face mask is your responsibility, not your Crew. Always carry one to use as required or appropriate
- If required, sick disposable bags are available for you on board the coach
- Do not remove food from the hotel breakfast buffet for consumption throughout the day
- Remove from the coach for disposal – used tissues, sick bags, and general waste
Wearing a Face Mask – Currently all mask-wearing requirements have been removed in New Zealand. For group travel, face masks are still a way to protect yourself and others from infection. Wearing face masks on a GPT coach is not mandated, it is a personal choice but recommended to reduce the risk of becoming sick. Please come supplied with face masks or be prepared to top up your supply whilst in New Zealand (own expense).
Accommodation and Attractions
We are proud of the accommodation supplier partners we work with in New Zealand, all of whom take the well-being of our travellers as seriously as we do.
Each venue will be practicing health and safety protocols. At any stage these protocols may be heightened if required.
At each hotel, a formal Meet and Greet is conducted by Management including the awareness of Fire Drill instructions.
For hotels, high-touch areas will be focused on above and beyond normal servicing. This includes, but is not limited to, door handles, light switches, TV remotes, safe, kettle and refrigerator. Some in-room amenities and collateral may have been removed from the rooms for hygiene purposes.
Sanitiser will be available for guest use in public areas around hotels and attractions and we encourage regular use.
In the event of an evacuation during your stay at any hotel, you are asked to follow the applicable hotel’s evacuation procedures. Ensure you familiarise yourself with the evacuation location and procedures when first entering your hotel room. Each hotel should also inform you of these details and any other relevant information upon arrival. If unsure, please ask your Crew.
We hope that each and every one of our travellers remains in good health and you take the guidance of the Crew when it comes to Health and Safety practices.
GPT does not employ medical staff so if you fall ill during your tour, your Crew will provide assistance as best they can, based on the circumstances.
Crew are provided with a list of Medical Centres in each town for ease of assisting when unwell.
Key points to remember:
- Travel is at your own risk. GPT no longer have a mandatory policy for travellers to leave the tour if they test positive to COVID-19. However, if you do test positive, we suggest wearing a mask in the early days, to protect your fellow travellers and utilise the hand sanitisers that are available as frequently as possible.
- Travel Insurance is your responsibility, and a copy of your policy should be taken on tour
- If you feel unwell, seek medical treatment early
- If you require medical attention, local medical services can be contacted immediately
- If ‘flu like’ symptoms present, you may complete a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) for peace of mind (provision and cost is your responsibility)
- You are responsible for all charges that result from visiting a medical facility or a medical practitioner visiting at the hotel or similar
- GPT is not responsible for the type or quality of the medical services you may receive
If due to any illness you decide to leave the tour to return home:
- An official form must be signed so any forward tour arrangements can be cancelled
- GPT NZ Operations Team will assist with arrangements to return home where required
- GPT can provide your Travel Agent with an Insurance Letter stating the value of any missed touring arrangements
- As per GPT’s Booking Terms and Conditions, no refund shall be made for any unused portion of any itinerary
- Retain your medical receipts as they may assist with any insurance claims you submit
Now that travel has resumed, the future of border closures as we have known throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is unknown. If due to border closures the tour is suspended prior to travel, a credit for a future tour will be provided. If a traveller chooses to cancel their booking, cancellation fees will apply.
If the tour is suspended while in New Zealand, GPT will manage all arrangements to redivert the itinerary.
Any unused portion of the itinerary will be refunded at the nett amount contracted by GPT (not the retail amount), unless required itinerary changes incur additional charges out of GPT’s control.
Any unexpected additional costs incurred during a disrupt will be your responsibility i.e. extra nights, meals etc.
If the borders close for a period of time leading into your planned return flight and you cannot depart as planned, GPT can assist with securing accommodation for an extended stay, however, GPT is not responsible for any charges related to an unplanned extension due to border closures.
In this instance, the party responsible for booking the return flight i.e. GPT or your Travel Agent is required to assist with making alternative flight arrangements.
Any costs associated with flight changes is your responsibility.
If you opt to leave the tour to return home, based on inclination that a border may close, refunds on any unused portion of the itinerary will only be available from the date of the official notification of a pending border closure and not from the date you have departed the tour.
24/7 Support is Guaranteed
From the minute you leave your front door, to your safe arrival home, GPT operate an In Case of Emergency hotline to provide instant assistance, so you can rest assured you are in good hands.
Whilst in New Zealand, the Crew in charge of the tour will have the operational assistance of our experienced New Zealand Operations Team based in Auckland and Christchurch.
An extensive Disaster Management Plan is in place to ensure any crisis situation is methodically managed.
Read the Important Fineprint
Payment and completion of the Good to Go Form acknowledges that you have read, understood and accepted GPT’s Booking Terms and Conditions. It acts as warranty that you are reasonably healthy and / or fit to participate in the tour and that as the traveller you indemnify GPT from all actions, claims and demands arising out of any want of health and fitness. GPT reserves the right to remove you from a tour if your health and / or fitness interferes with the tour or other travellers tour experience in any way. In choosing to travel with GPT, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure of COVID-19.
All information is subject to change at any time.