Domestic travel within New Zealand has been authorised and will resume from Thursday 14 May as the country declares it has effectively defeated Coronavirus, with the news sure to be embraced by the local industry, Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) said.
It comes as the organisation welcomes Gráinne Troute as its new Independent Chair. Troute is also a Director of Tourism Holdings Ltd and joins the Board from her former role as General Manager, Corporate Services at SkyCity Entertainment Group.
The adoption of Level 2 restrictions means tourism businesses can again open their doors, while maintaining physical distancing and contact tracing, TIA added. Official guidelines are in the process of being drafted and will be shared with all businesses in the days to come.
TIA Chief Executive, Chris Roberts, said the organisation was now looking forward to the upcoming Central Government budget, which will outline further measures to be put in place to assist businesses until international borders reopen to foreign travellers. He added all industry operations were focused on ensuring a second outbreak did not occur and that all risks would be minimised or eliminated.
“While the health of New Zealanders must remain the priority, we know that transport, accommodation, hospitality, retail, and most tourism activities can all be operated safely under Level 2,” Roberts said
“Our businesses are desperate to get back to work and make a living for themselves and their staff. While Kiwi travellers will not replace the international markets we have lost, they will provide welcome business opportunities,” he added.
Despite the government’s permission that Kiwis can again travel domestically, the country’s hotel industry says business confidence within its own ranks is “bleak” with nearly three-quarters of TIA survey respondents believing their trading conditions will continue to deteriorate over the next two years, compared to 2019 highs. More than half of tourism businesses say they expect weaker economic conditions for the foreseeable future until international borders are reopened.