NZ travellers to register travel plans for cyclone season
New Zealanders travelling to the South Pacific asked to register details on SafeTravel website as cyclone season approaches.
New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs is asking people travelling to the South Pacific to register their details on the Ministry's SafeTravel website as the cyclone season nears.
The Pacific cyclone season runs from 1 November to 30 April, with an average of nine tropical cyclones per season.
Last season saw six cyclones in the Pacific, including Tropical Cyclone Evan, which caused significant damage to parts of Samoa and Fiji in December.
The Ministry's Consular division's director, Lyndal Walker told Moera Tuilaepa-Taylor why they are issuing this advice.
LYNDAL WALKER: To us it's all about risk management. Often Kiwis see the Pacific as their own neighbourhood, but it's important, from our perspective and everyone else's, to remember that access to medical treatment or making changes to disrupted holiday bookings can be complex and extremely costly, especially after a cyclone. So we really want to make people aware that there is a cyclone season and it does have the potential to impact on the Pacific. We're not telling people not to travel to the Pacific. What we're advising is that people need to be prepared, which includes making sure you have travel insurance and registering with us on SafeTravel.
MOERA TUILAEPA-TAYLOR: This is the first time I've seen an advisory such as this. I also know that the last few cyclones in the Pacific have been quite severe.
LW: We're trying to encourage people to take personal responsibility when they travel to the Pacific. By issuing a statement on the cyclone season we're hoping to encourage people to register with us. By registering with us, this means that if there's a major cyclone on the wind, so to speak, we can advise people and we can also check on their well-being if there's been a major cyclone after the event has occurred. Because if they don't register with us, we have very little chance of actually making contact with them.
MTT: And, I suppose, also now with such great airfares the Pacific is becoming quite a popular place for New Zealanders to go and holiday in.
LW: Absolutely. As I said, we often view the Pacific as our own neighbourhood and it's a great holiday destination. But we are trying to encourage Kiwis to take personal responsibility by ensuring they have travel insurance and registering with us. I think we learnt a valuable lesson a couple of years ago during the Samoa tsunami and earthquake. At the time that occurred we had 50 Kiwis registered with us, but we ended up confirming the well-being of over 1,100 New Zealanders that were in Samoa at the time.
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