'Just average' hospitality spending this Easter weekend as sector awaits trans-Tasman bubble announcement - industry leader

"It was just average."
"It was just average." Photo credit: Getty

Hospitality spending didn't see the big surge many businesses had hoped for this Easter weekend, according to an industry leader.

"Easter trading [from what] our membership are reporting back, it was just average - there wasn't spectacular trading," explains Hospitality New Zealand chief executive Julie White. "A lot chose not to open on Friday and on Sunday because of all the additional costs.

"It was pretty much just a flat Easter across the country."

And a lack of plan about when a trans-Tasman bubble can be expected has some businesses in the sector on the brink, White told Newshub.

But there is a glimmer of hope. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday is expected to announce when Australians will be able to travel to NZ quarantine-free and commence a trans-Tasman bubble - something the tourism and hospitality sectors have been crying out for to revitalise businesses struggling since COVID-19 shuttered borders just over a year ago. 

White said while the hospitality industry was doing its best, many have been forced to reduce operating hours.

She said the sector was holding its breath for a trans-Tasman bubble opening announcement on Tuesday.

"That's what we are really hanging our hat on," she said, adding it would be devastating if a date isn't announced.

"What is so bad is actually the unknown.

"Just that trans-Tasman bubble announcement will be like a shot in the arm. It will just give the hospitality industry that glimmer of hope that we're through the worst.

"We're really hopeful that the Prime Minister will announce an opening and, if not, we're really hopeful that she announces a plan because that's what's missing from this whole COVID recovery."

Ardern said last month establishing a trans-Tasman bubble was a priority for the Government to boost businesses and allow the reunion of friends and family. 

The Opposition has been pushing for a travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia for months but the Opposition recently ramped up that pressure even further, launching a petition calling for its immediate implementation. 

"We just need to make sure when we do it, we get it right," said Ardern. "A petition isn't what makes this decision - we make it based on health advice and when we believe we've got everything in place."