Tourism business expands for the future amidst impact of COVID-19

Tauranga transport and tour business Mount Classic Tours heard the call to pivot to the domestic market and has expanded its operations in the face of COVID-19.

Mount Classic Tours has purchased Tauranga based domestic group travel business Hinterland Tours.

Mount Classic Tours has, to date, focussed on cruise ship shore excursions offered across ports in New Zealand and Australia with their Shore Trips & Tours brand. That focus changed for Founder and Managing Director Ian Holroyd when New Zealand closed its borders in March due to COVID-19.

“We knew we had to think differently and find a new opportunity so that we could retain our staff. Our people are our most important asset,” said Holroyd.

Holroyd said, “For us it’s important to keep the business operating until international visitors return. We want to offer Kiwis the chance to see New Zealand. By bringing visitors into the Bay, we can help the economy and keep our local staff employed.”

“If you’re thinking that now is the right time to see New Zealand, we’re asking Bay of Plenty locals to book a trip with a local company.”

Mount Classic Tours is also doing its part for the local community by offering free, guided transport for local communities and selected 'good causes', said Holroyd.

“We’re offering our drivers and vehicles to any chosen cause, whether that’s a trip to the shops for retirement village residents or taking a classroom of schoolkids to a conservation project.”

“Our drivers couldn’t work during lockdown, and people were reluctant to travel until alert level one. But now we have an opportunity to do some good in our community.”

Tourism Bay of Plenty Chief Executive, Kristin Dunne, said, “We fully support Mount Classic Tours and all businesses that are thinking laterally in a swiftly changing tourism landscape. I encourage locals to explore their backyard and support local businesses. Ian’s commitment to his staff and care for his community are exemplary.”

This story is part of TIA's #TourismChampions campaign. View more inspirational stories here