Tourism industry calls for more Government clarity over border reopening

The tourism industry says it needs to ensure there's enough time to get ready for an influx of overseas visitors.
The tourism industry says it needs to ensure there's enough time to get ready for an influx of overseas visitors. Photo credit: Getty

Tourism operators are calling for the Government to give them more clarity about when borders will be opened again.

In December, Cabinet agreed in principle to establish a travel bubble with Australia in the first three months of this year.

While the news was welcomed, those in the tourism industry said they needed to ensure there was enough time to get ready for an influx of overseas visitors.

The managing director of the Scenic Hotel Group, Brendan Taylor, said it would take two to three months for the airlines to ramp up if the borders reopened.

He said operators needed time to prepare and ensure they have enough staff to cater for incoming guests.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts said it would take time to prepare for the return of international visitors after such a devastating blow - and it wouldn't be as simple as flicking a switch and everything returning to normal.

Finding staff to fill empty positions would be particularly challenging, he said.

"We have to get staffed up again, because 40 or 50,000 jobs have disappeared from across the tourism industry and those are good people who have, on the whole, found jobs elsewhere.

"So there's a challenge to get the workforce built back up again."

As well as the proposed travel bubble with Australia, a quarantine-free travel corridor between New Zealand and the Cook Islands is expected to open up by the end of March.

Currently, the Cook Islands are COVID-19 free.

However, recent community outbreaks of COVID-19 in Australia have resulted in new restrictions and border closures between New South Wales and Victoria.

RNZ