Tourism industry desperate for trans-Tasman bubble date as Prime Minister refuses to give timeline

The tourism industry is calling for the Government to give an exact date for when the trans-Tasman travel bubble will open. 

A review of the proposal to open a trans-Tasman bubble will take place in Cabinet on Monday and the tourism industry is hoping for clarity. 

Tourism Industry Aotearoa CEO Chris Roberts told The AM Show on Monday tourism businesses need an exact date so they can prepare for increased demand. 

"What we are looking for today is a date. Not just a promise that we will have the bubble coming but on what date is it going to start because obviously, the airports need that, the airlines need to know when to put the flights on and get the crew back. 

"Tourism operators around the country need to know when can they start taking bookings and getting their staff back, finding staff and getting ready for our Australian visitors coming in." 

Roberts said while businesses would love a bubble as soon as possible, the most important part is knowing when it's happening.  

"We would love it to be mid-April but if it's the end of April... As I say what's most important is the actual date and if we can get that today that would put a lot of smiles on peoples' faces right around the country."

Roberts said businesses also need clear instructions about how to deal with customers if there is a community outbreak of COVID-19. 

But an exact date is unlikely today with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern refusing to give a timeline. 

"No-one should expect that suddenly, at the end of today, we're going to have an opening. I don't want to raise that expectation but we have said it will be soon," she said later on The AM Show. 

The Prime Minister said the bubble is something the Government has been "working hard" on and is based on health advice, not public petitioning after opposition leader Judith Collins launched a petition last week.

"We just need to make sure when we do it, we get it right. 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." 

She declined to say if an in-principle decision would be made on Monday.

"I'm not going to get ahead of the Cabinet talks today but today is not the day that you're going to get that final date and decision." 

"It will be soon - but the things that we need to do to get this right… that's what we have to work on."