New Zealand's biggest motorhome operator Tourism Holdings has come up with a way to give Kiwis a bucket list road trip while putting a little cash into its Covid-19 smashed balance sheet.

In a bid to get the country moving again, the NZX-listed tourism operator is offering massive discounts on campervan hire through to the end of October - including school holidays, and Kiwis can take their pets.

With international tourism dead because of border closure and about 2500 of its motorhomes sitting idle across the country, the company is offering Kiwis a three or more day holiday from $29 a day.

The deal, which needs to be booked in the next eight weeks, includes Queens Birthday weekend, Labour weekend and the July and September school holidays.


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Chief executive Grant Webster said the initiative is to enable Kiwis to have a well-deserved holiday and support regional communities and small businesses feeling the pain of reduced visits from international visitors and local travellers.

"The Great New Zealand Road Trip" was on the bucket list of many Kiwis and the offer goes a way to making it a reality, he said.

Tourism Holdings chief executive Grant Webster. Photo / Brett Phibbs NZH
Tourism Holdings chief executive Grant Webster. Photo / Brett Phibbs NZH

The offer represents a 35-40 per cent discount on usual winter campervan rates and a 65-70 per cent decrease on September school holiday to October end rates. Rates range from $29-$69 a day and vehicles can be booked now with a $1 deposit.

A trip over a long weekend at $29 a day would cost from $87.

"This is for the community, saving jobs and giving Kiwis this once-in-a-lifetime experience," Webster said.

"We are losing money anyway - this isn't about money-making, it's about helping the New Zealand economy. We are an international tourism business and there is no international tourism. After weeks of lockdown, many Kiwis have expressed interest in domestic travel."

Hundreds of people had booked within a few hours of the deal opening on Monday morning, he said.

A campervan road trip is on many Kiwis' bucket list. Photo / Supplied
A campervan road trip is on many Kiwis' bucket list. Photo / Supplied

In looking at what costs inhibited Kiwis from doing road trips, the company identified one as the cost of kennels and catteries for their pets, he said.

So it decided for the first time ever to let pets on board for a $100 cleaning fee, no matter how long the hire. Bike racks can be added for a fee.

The number of pets allowed on one vehicle is at the company's discretion, but Webster said generally the maximum would be two.

Insurance cost cover, or liability excess, as it's called has been cut from up to $49 a day to $10.

The company is also offering discounts at its cave tourism hotspot the Waitomo Group of visitor attractions.

Minimum hire of the company's Britz and maui campervans has been reduced to three days from the normal five, and cancellation fees don't start until seven days out - usually it's 90 days. The special offers are until July 19.

The company is open seven days in Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown. It is offering late night branch hours on Fridays for after-work pickups.

Tourism Holdings or thl as it's known is the world's largest operator of recreational vehicle rentals, with signature brands in New Zealand, Australia, the USA, and UK.

In New Zealand, the majority of its motorhomes are manufactured locally by joint-venture Action Manufacturing.

The company is also the largest national seller of motorhomes to private owners. It operates the award winning Kiwi Experience bus service, Waitomo Glowworm Caves, and Black Water Rafting.

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