With many of New Zealand’s operators excited to report forward bookings, Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) says this is indicative of hope for the sector as the country enters the next phase of its border reopening plan.
TIA Chief Executive, Rebecca Ingram said while the industry is not expecting an immediate influx of visitors, forward bookings are giving operators some certainty in their future planning.
“Forward bookings from visa-waiver countries are looking optimistic, with visitors planning to arrive in late spring and early summer,” she said.
“The tourism industry wants to make an active and positive contribution to New Zealand’s recovery from COVID and the first step is supporting our tourism businesses to step back on the front foot so they can deliver the manaakitanga that makes us world famous.”
Paihia-based Carino Wildlife Cruises Managing Director, Vanessa McKay said while she expected Northland to remain quiet during the winter months, she was super excited the borders have reopened and her company can start to make some real plans regarding employing staff, scheduling cruises and capital investment.
“Forward bookings for the upcoming summer season are looking great and the demand from international wholesalers is strong.
“It is looking like it will be a busy summer for us. We can’t wait to welcome back our international guests, to take them cruising again, share stories with them and inspire them with our passion for the ocean.”
Her comments were echoed by Ngāi Tahu Tourism General Manager, Jolanda Cave who said the region’s tourism attractions are also starting to see an increase in the number of international manuhiri (visitors) making bookings for the summer season.
Ms Cave said during the quieter period, Ngāi Tahu Tourism has focused on its cultural storytelling, ensuring it has on offer the best product possible.
“We can’t wait to showcase our products to our international friends again,” she said.
“We know there will be a few extra hurdles for visitors who come from overseas and so we want to make sure that their experience with Ngāi Tahu Tourism is worth the wait.”
In Queenstown Nomad Safaris owner, David Gatward-Fergusson said the entire industry is thankful and delighted with the progress that at some point in the future a new normal will emerge.”
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