After two years of border restrictions, Australians can now officially travel to New Zealand quarantine free and local tourism operators could not be happier to greet them. On 1 May, they will be joined by international visitors from visa waiver countries, including the USA, UK, Europe, Japan, Korea and Singapore.
“This is an exciting day for tourism businesses around the motu as they step back onto the front foot, setting their sights on a successful ski season, then summer 2022-23,” said Rebecca Ingram, Chief Executive, Tourism Industry Aotearoa.
“The industry is reporting forward bookings are gaining momentum, and there’s definitely a more positive feeling about the future and the opportunities to rebuild businesses.”
According to Yvonne Densem, Manager of Communications at Christchurch Airport, Air New Zealand and Qantas have extra additional services into Christchurch this week, and almost 16 flights have been fully booked out, 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.
Car rental company GO Rentals has also been experiencing a surge of bookings for the upcoming school holidays in April and the ski season in July, especially out of its Queenstown office.
“Internationally, we are seeing great business from Australia, with solid business already coming through from Europe. Other international markets are still a little reserved at this stage,” shared James Daglish, Chief Operating Officer, Go Rentals.
Since the announcement that Australians could revisit New Zealand on 16 March, Sarah Derry, Chief Executive Officer at Accor Pacific, said that the hotel giant has seen steady growth in bookings fuelled by people’s love and desire for travel.
“The increase is driven by Queenstown and Auckland destinations. 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.”
Ingram firmly believes that New Zealand’s borders reopening will breathe life back into the nation’s cities and communities.