Air New Zealand offers 'mystery breaks' to lure travelers back

Lilit Marcus, CNNPublished 20th October 2020
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(CNN) — Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, all of travel seems like a big question mark. So, one airline argues, why not embrace that question mark?
Air New Zealand is bringing back its Mystery Breaks program, where travelers pay a flat fee to book an entire vacation package with the airline and agree not to find out their destination until two days before they leave.
The packages, which begin at $599 AUD ($422 USD), allow travelers to choose from three tiers -- Great, Deluxe or Luxury. They will also select the dates they wish to travel and one place they are not interested in going.
The airline flies to 20 destinations in New Zealand, including Art Deco-filled Napier, adventure capital Queensland and historic Dunedin.
The accommodations will be at an Accor Hotel and car hires by Avis, as both brands are partners with Air New Zealand.
New Zealand has been successful at containing coronavirus within its borders, but residents are unable to travel anywhere outside the country, save a few Australian states, without quarantining or going through other security measures upon their return.
According to the New Zealand Ministry of Health, the country has had 1,531 confirmed coronavirus cases within its borders, and just 25 deaths.
Nationwide coronavirus restrictions were lifted in June. There are presently no limits on domestic travel.
While the country's borders remain closed to nearly all visitors, the most effective way to stimulate the tourism sector is by encouraging locals to travel domestically.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA), a national body made up of many tourism industry partners, has requested assistance from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose government recently won re-election by a decisive majority.
Among TIA's proposals was a suggestion that the government give every New Zealander a $200 "credit card" to use at tourism-related businesses like hotels and attractions.