Trans-Tasman Bubble: Tourism NZ set to launch multi-million-dollar campaign to lure Australians to New Zealand

Tourism New Zealand is set to launch a multi-million-dollar campaign as interest in tourism skyrockets 100-fold since the announcement of a trans-Tasman bubble date.

Nick Andreef from Waitomo Adventures is one of many tourism operators who can't wait to have the Aussies back. 

"They're great customers, they fit in well in New Zealand - they appreciate what we do, they have great senses of humour - so we love Aussies," he tells Newshub through laughter. 

But COVID-19 has been no laughing matter. Andreef has lost 80 percent of his business and the bubble will help him claw some of that back.

"Of course we would've liked it earlier - it's been a very long year, but we're just looking forward and going to make the most of it." 

For the past year Waitomo has gone back in time - it's one of the towns hit hardest by our closed borders.

Grant Webster from Tourism Holdings says New Zealand's tourism industry is "90 percent international".

"We were highly dependent on it - we had over 10,000 Australians visiting us so those kind of numbers coming back make the difference between employment, profitability, investing in new products - so it all starts again now… we hope." 

Tourism Holdings is one of the largest operators in the country. It includes Kiwi Experience, Britz and Maui campervans and in the past 24 hours has seen a boom in interest.

"[Interest is] hundreds of percent up across the board across different locations and times," says Webster. 

It was also a record day for Air New Zealand - within hours tens of thousands of trans-Tasman tickets were booked. 

Up to 150 flights a week will operate to keep up with demand.

As for Tourism New Zealand, it's also about to launch a new multi-million-dollar marketing campaign into Australia to entice even more tourists into Aotearoa. 

While the Aussie bubble is just the beginning of New Zealand's resurgence it does offer a light at the end of the tunnel.

And those hardest hits are getting ready to entice the Aussies back.

"We are going to be ordering a shipload of shrimps!" jokes Andreef.