With ever-growing numbers of Australians already in the country and visitors from visa waiver countries, including the USA, UK, Europe, Japan, Korea and Singapore allowed entry from May 01, New Zealand can finally bring two years of border restrictions to an end.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) chief executive, Rebecca Ingram said the opening of the borders will breathe life into New Zealand’s cities and communities.
Ms Ingram say TIA anticipates a slow and steady return of visitors, with people visiting friends and family first following by Australian and US visitors.
“We know people around the world have continued to dream about a holiday in New Zealand,” she said.
“However, TIA’s Recovery Roadmap suggests it could be 2-3 years before we find our ‘new normal’, meaning new levels of demand and travel patterns.”
Meanwhile, Ms Ingram said the industry is reporting forward bookings are gaining momentum, and there is definitely a more positive feeling about the future and the opportunities to rebuild businesses.
Christchurch Airport manager communications, Yvonne Densem said both Air New Zealand and Qantas have added additional services into Christchurch, and almost all 16 flights are full, with more to come.
“Our view is the attractions of the South Island are all still here and ready for visitors. We are looking forward to saying ‘welcome back cobber!’ more often,” she said.
GO Rentals chief operating officer, James Daglish said the company is experiencing good bookings for the upcoming school holidays in April and also for the ski season in July, especially out of the Queenstown office.
“Internationally, we are seeing great business from Australia, with solid business already coming through from Europe,” he said.
Accor Pacific CEO, Sarah Derry said the hotel provider has seen a steady increase in bookings since the March 16 announcement that Australians can visit New Zealand again.
“The increase is driven by Queenstown and Auckland destinations,” MS Derry said.
“Bookings in April reflect a desire for Australians to reconnect with family and friends as soon as possible, and we are seeing booking trends which suggest Australians want to make the most of the upcoming winter ski season in Queenstown.”
As tourism gears up to reconnect with the world, Ms Ingram thanked New Zealanders who have helped keep many businesses across the motu afloat over the past two years by trying new experiences and exploring destinations they hadn’t visited previously.
“Kiwis are such an important part of our tourism industry, not just as domestic travellers, but because of the manaakitanga and warm welcome they extend to international visitors,” she said.