Hotel industry associations have welcomed the announcement today that New Zealand citizens will be able to visit New South Wales and the Northern Territory on short-term visits, such as holidays, from October 16.

In the first ‘travel bubble’ to open involving Australia since the pandemic began, the new access will apply to travellers who have not been in a virus hotspot for at least 14 days prior to travel. New Zealand is currently at Level 1 in its COVID-19 rating scale nationally, however Auckland is graded as Level 2 at the moment.

Currently, the bubble is not reciprocal, meaning Australians cannot currently visit New Zealand. Furthermore, New Zealand has not approved re-entry for any travellers who do decide to take advantage of this access, meaning Kiwis will need to quarantine for two weeks upon returning home.

Announced earlier today by Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, the bubble currently applies only to NSW and the NT, however South Australia is expected to align and open its border to Kiwi travellers under the same arrangement.

L-R Dean Long, Accommodation Association and Michael Johnson, TAA

Tourism Accommodation Australia National CEO, Michael Johnson, said the hotel industry will be very pleased with the news and are ready to welcome travellers who decide to come to Australia as part of the bubble.

“NZ is our second largest market and while China will be off for a while yet, it’s a fantastic step in the right direction and one which the industry will embrace and welcome with open arms,” he said.

“This will be great for city hotels and be a real shot in the arm which will also help get team members back to work.

“We know airlines are going to be operating under COVID-safe protocols, as will airports. Many hotels are checking guest temperatures on arrival and taking steps to ensure the safety of not just fellow guests but staff as well. This will be a sign of the new normal for now until a vaccine is available,” Johnson added.

Accommodation Association CEO, Dean Long, said he welcomed the move as a step towards starting to open borders.

“This is an example of a Government practicing what they preach,” Long said.

“The Federal Government using the best advice has had a position of keeping borders open throughout Australia. New Zealand and Australia have a special bond and allowing Kiwis to travel to Australia is a great first move.”