Wellington thriving one month on from trans-Tasman bubble

One month into quarantine-free travel with Australia, Wellington is reaping some of the economic rewards.

The trans-Tasman bubble's been open since April 19, allowing families and friends to reunite and giving people the luxury of an overseas holiday.

"We've had international football here, international rugby here.  19,000 international passengers came through the airport, and they're spending up large," Wellington NZ chief executive John Allen said.  

That's trickled down to retail.

"There's a lot more confidence in the market, we're starting to see that let's get back to normal," First Retail Group managing director Chris Wilkinson said.

Wellington On A Plate director Sarah Meikle says hospitality is "very positive but certainly more room to grow".

While in accommodation, Sofitel's Area general manager Raymond Faulkner says "it's been absolutely positive. Mostly the traffic has been corporate traffic and Government traffic as well".

Wellington's welcomed just 25 percent of visitor numbers compared to pre-COVID times, but those travellers are spending the equivalent of 60 percent.

Targeted advertising campaigns are being rolled out across the ditch to help those numbers grow.

"We're putting the personality, the quirkiness of Wellington in front of them," Allen said.

There is optimism things will continue to improve.

"The direction is sound, it's strong. We're really well placed, more efficient, more effective," said Faulkner.

Wilkinson said: "We've got a natural resilience built into our economy and we're an optimistic city."

"We run the Visa Wellington On a Plate and Beervana in August. We've had some solid bookings already from Australians. For us we see the future really rosy," Meikle said.

The pitch to Aussies is definitely choose Wellington over Auckland.

 "If you want a real city experience, great coffee, great food, great culture and wonderfully welcoming people come here".