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Kiwis keen to travel, despite COVID

TransferWise, the global technology company building the best way to move money internationally, has released new independent research showing that New Zealanders are itching to travel overseas despite the global impact of COVID-19.

More than a quarter of New Zealanders think a travel bubble should be extended to all countries that are reporting zero cases of COVID-19 and a further 16 per cent think we should open the bubble to all countries with controlled community transmission.

It is clear Kiwis don’t want to wait before heading for the departure lounge. More than a third of Kiwis say they’re likely to travel internationally in the next 12 months if they don’t have to quarantine for two weeks upon their return, with a further 10 per cent stating they’ll travel regardless of self-isolation requirements.

COVID-19 put a halt to many travel plans with nearly half of New Zealanders forced to cancel or postpone overseas trips. However, one in ten are still hoping they will be able to resume their travel plans by the end of the year.

Most Kiwis want to travel to Australia and the Pacific Islands (55.8 per cent) while Asia (32.4 per cent), Europe (28.8 per cent) and North America (18.3 per cent) remain popular options.

"We all know Kiwis love to travel and it doesn’t look like COVID-19 changes this," says TransferWise country manager Tim Cameron.

"However, once borders begin to open up it looks like some trips will be quite different with 39 per cent saying they will reduce their travel spending.

"One in ten will reduce spending by more than 50 per cent and a further 16 per cent say they will likely cut back by 20-50 per cent.

"What we found particularly worrying is that 55 per cent of Kiwis don’t fully understand what fees and charges are involved when it comes to getting travel money.

"Consequently, our data shows that almost 60 per cent of New Zealanders use their regular bank credit or debit card when travelling, because it’s the most convenient (67 per cent) method for them, however, this convenience coupled with a lack of understanding on the true cost associated with using bank cards abroad, is costing Kiwis dearly.

"Bank-issued cards charge a sky-high currency conversion fee, sometimes up to 5 per cent, as well as an additional foreign transaction fee every time you tap your card or withdraw money from an ATM abroad. This really adds up quickly, costing consumers hundreds of dollars in unnecessary fees.

"One of the best ways savvy Kiwi travelers can stretch their travel dollars even further is to use a multi-currency travel card, like the one from TransferWise, which lets you spend anywhere in the world at the real-exchange rate, like the one you see on Google, without any other hidden fees. It can be up to 6x cheaper than using a card from the banks.

"We’re calling on the New Zealand authorities to enforce transparency in the banking sector so Kiwis can make informed decisions when choosing how to spend their money overseas," says Cameron.

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