New Zealand

Disappointing delay on Australian travel date

Thousands of keen travellers and the tourism businesses ready to welcome them must wait another two weeks for guidance on when quarantine-free trans-Tasman travel might begin, the government confirmed this week. 

PM Jacinda Ardern said that an announcement would be made on 6 April regarding the commencement date for the trans-Tasman travel bubble. Tourism Industry Aotearoa Chief Executive Chris Roberts says the industry was desperately keen to be given a date today. He remains hopeful that the bubble can be operating before the end of April.

“Our success in dealing with COVID, matched by Australia’s success, gives us this opportunity to reconnect our two nations.

“However, until they have a firm date, tourism operators cannot take bookings with confidence or scale up in terms of staff and services. It also delays marketing campaigns to the Aussies.”

TIA and its members accept that our borders must be opened safely, and they acknowledge that complex processes are involved. But discussions on what would need to be in place to allow the Tasman to re-open started almost immediately after our borders were closed a year ago, Mr Roberts says.

“The intention was to get everything ready to go when the time was right. The health experts say trans-Tasman travel can now be done safely, so any delay is frustrating.

“Separated families want to know when they can be reunited, sporting teams when they can travel, and Kiwi tourism businesses when they will be able to welcome back Australian visitors,” Mr Roberts says.

Today’s announcement leaves them all in limbo until after Easter.

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