WELLINGTON: Customs of New Zealand was thinking to split country to statistics, which uses the data from departure cards and hoped to chart a way forward early next year, she said. For this purpose Customs has ordered all the government agencies to shift their as many transactions as they can from paper to digital channels by 2017.
Rooting around for a pen and filling out a departure card while juggling luggage, passports and boarding passes is one of the minor irritations of international air travel. But it may soon be one we can farewell.
Customs has cooled on the idea of using a smartphone app in place of the paper cards. But it hasn’t given up on going electronic and is now looking at other options, such as asking airlines to collect the information it requires from travellers through check-in kiosks.
“I think in this day and age asking people to fill in a paper form with information that is already available does feel a bit like an imposition,” Customs group manager Denise Hing said.
Customs revealed last month in a briefing to Customs Minister Nicky Wagner that it had developed a smartphone app that travellers could use to fill in their details in place of a departure card.
Hing said it might be possible to get any information from travellers that couldn’t currently be sourced from elsewhere by having check-in kiosks flash up extra questions
But she said Customs decided to go back to the drawing board after testing the app with 50 travellers at airports in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch earlier this year.
“They thought the app was pretty straightforward but many asked if it couldn’t be more integrated into the overall travel experience. So what we are doing is seeing if there is another way of collecting that information that could eliminate the transaction completely, if not for all, then for a great number of people.”