As a 'thank you' to the community that has supported the cruise tour business for 20 years, Mount Classic Tours has offered free, guided and chauffeured transport for 62 selected 'good causes' since July 2020, said Managing Director and founder Ian Holroyd.
“We donated $39,500 in free transport to 2162 Bay of Plenty locals who we thought would appreciate experiencing our transport services to get out and about to see our region again, especially after the long period of COVID-19 lockdown and limitations on travel.
Whether it was a short, local trip or further away for retirement villages, social clubs, care homes and Probus groups, we were happy to offer this service for our community,” said Holroyd.
After COVID-19 forced New Zealand’s borders shut and the country into nationwide lockdown, the cruise tour business’s 30 drivers could not work but were kept employed by the business through the Government’s wage subsidy.
“Our great team of drivers gave back the hours they were paid with the wage subsidy when we had no work for them. They offered to drive the vehicles for these groups without additional pay, and the business covered the vehicle running costs.
This speaks to the character of my team and I’m proud of the challenges we’ve overcome,” said Holroyd.
Tourism Bay of Plenty Chief Executive, Kristin Dunne, said, “Ian and the Mount Classic Tours team are a fantastic example of how tourism can give back. I applaud their commitment to their staff and community in such trying times.”
Prior to the border closures caused by COVID-19, Mount Classic Tours focussed on cruise ship shore excursions offered across ports in New Zealand and Australia through its Shore Trips & Tours business.
Holroyd pivoted to the domestic market by purchasing domestic group travel business Hinterland Tours in July 2020. Hinterland Tours offers special discounts to Bay of Plenty locals to encourage them to “explore our beautiful country,” said Holroyd.